Singapore companies at risk due to lack of diversity

Are organisations in Singapore doing enough to create diverse and inclusive workplaces?

Singapore companies at risk due to lack of diversity

Are organisations in Singapore doing enough to create diverse and inclusive workplaces?

Apparently not, according to Workday’s survey of more than 100 top HR leaders. The report, released yesterday at a panel event, also asserted that Singapore companies risk falling behind due to poor workplace diversity.

The study highlighted that failure to include people with disabilities and ageism are the biggest issues faced by Singapore companies.

As for the oft-discussed topic of gender diversity, 80% of men believe that their companies are doing enough to support women aspiring to leadership careers, while only 65% of women agreed.

“This report sheds light on how diversity is a multi-faceted topic ranging from gender to societal or culture as well as physical ability and age,” said one of the panellists, Jeffrey Lee, Chief People Officer at Agoda.

“We can all do more, particularly in this region, to ensure we are enabling all our people to be accepted and successful in the workplace.”

Based on a quick poll at the start of the event, about a third of attending HR practitioners were confident that their organisations are already doing “very well” in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Similarly, about a third were “neutral” or unaware of their organisation’s progress in the field.

After hearing the panel, made up of industry leaders from KPMG, LinkedIn, Agoda and Lo & Behold Group, discuss pertinent D&I-related topics, another snap poll for the audience saw a mindset shift.

Almost half of the audience said they “strongly disagree” that their companies were genuinely diverse and inclusive.

“Today’s event was a ‘full house’ for us and it is indicative that there is an underswell of requests for understanding and insights into diversity and inclusion – I think that’s a positive thing,” David Hope, Workday’s APAC president, told HRD.

“In Singapore, we’re starting to see more targets around women on boards for example, so the topic is becoming more top-of-mind. As companies see the benefits – that it has a direct impact on the bottom line – it will be like a snowball effect and the movement will gain more momentum.

“The push for diversity in the US and Europe was originally driven by policy and legislation. The positive thing for this part of the world is that it’s becoming more of a bottom-up process, which is all about talent.”

Hope is confident that the topic will take more of a centre-stage in discussions in the next five years or so.

Key findings from the report include:

- For gender diversity: More than half of the respondents have less than 20% of women in leadership roles. Top two factors for the issue was a lack of female role models and flexible working arrangements

- For the disabled: Almost 60% of HR leaders feel their companies aren’t doing enough to support the disabled – this may be due to a lack of facilities or biased hiring practices

- For mature workers: One in four felt older workers faced discrimination in their workplace. Also, ageism seemed to be more of an issue in large companies than in SMEs



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