Diversity progress potentially stalled in Singapore

New research shows that a greater focus on gender diversity might need to be a goal for employers in Singapore in 2018.

A greater focus on gender diversity needs to be a goal for employers in Singapore in 2018 after new research shows the number of women in management is going backwards, according to recruiting experts Hays.

This is just one of the key findings from the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide which in its 11th year, highlights salary and recruiting trends based on responses from more than 3,000 employers across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

This year’s research showed that women held 30% of management roles in Singapore – a slight decrease in last year’s figure of 31%.

The 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide also shows a drop in the number of organisations with a formal diversity policy in Singapore – from 58% to 53%. And of those companies with a dedicated diversity policy, less than a third (29%) claim to adhere to it “well”.

Further, there is a decline in the number of companies offering flexible work practices too (62 % in 2018 vs 67 % in 2017) – even though flexible work arrangements are an important way to retain talent who may also have family responsibilities, regardless of gender.

“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,” said Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays in Singapore.

“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,” she added.

Singapore is in the middle of the pack compared to other Asian countries regarding women in management positions. Malaysia is the stand out 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.

Of the employers surveyed in Singapore, a little more than half (53%) have a formal diversity policy – a similar proportion compared to employers in Malaysia (54%), Japan (52%), and mainland China (51%). Hong Kong trails behind with less than half (47%) of companies having a formal diversity policy in place.


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