HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

3 in 10 firms hit by staff diversity woes

Only 53% also have a formal diversity policy, a drop from 58% in 2017.

Amongst Singapore firms that have a formal diversity policy in place, 9% admit they are struggling to adhere to it whilst a disappointing 30% are unsure how well their organisation is managing adherence, recruiting firm Hays said.

According to its 11th Hays Asia Salary Guide, this resulted in the number of women managers to go backwards. Women held 31% of management roles in Singapore in 2017 – an improvement of the 27% in 2016, but the figure in the latest research is just 30%.

Singapore Hays managing director Lynne Roeder noted that having a formal diversity policy appears to be part of the issue, yet even those that do have a formal policy fail to adhere to it a large part of the time. “Of the employers surveyed in Singapore, only 53% have a formal diversity policy – a drop from 58% last year.”

She said, “We are seeing some gains in gender diversity in Singapore in certain sectors, but we need more women rising up the ranks in business so there is a pipeline of talent to the top including board roles. Our Guide shows organisations in Singapore – and elsewhere in Asia - continue to struggle with the diversity issue – but if businesses are to manage ever-increasing levels of complexity and challenge, they will need a diversity of thinking in their management ranks and gender diversity is a big part of that.”

“Our research shows a decline in the number of companies offering flexible work practices too (62% in 2018 vs 67% in 2017) and at a time when more women, but also men say such options are a priority for them. Flexible work arrangements are an important way to retain talent who may also have family responsibilities no matter what their gender,” she added.

Hays revealed that Singapore is in the middle of the pack compared to the five countries surveyed for the 2018 Asia Salary Guide regarding women in management positions. “Malaysia is the standout country with women filling 38% of management roles followed by Mainland China with 37%. In Hong Kong, women hold just 29% of management roles and in Japan, women fill only 22% of management roles,” it said.

In terms of a formal diversity policy, Malaysia ranked first with 54% of companies reporting they have a formal diversity policy in place compared to 52% in Japan, 51% in Mainland China and 47% in Hong Kong. 

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