Singapore Views Diversity with a Difference, But Still Lags Behind Other Asian Markets

May 10, 20178:05 am416 views

Singapore has more women in senior management roles and less foreign workers, thus looking at the concept of diversity with a new lens. The region has 31 percent women in senior management positions, while only 21 percent of foreign workers are assimilated into the Singaporean workforce. This finding was revealed by recruitment expert, Hays in its 2017 Hays Salary Guide.

The guide in its tenth year highlights salary and recruitment trends across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, mainland China and Japan. The research is based on a survey covering 3,000 employers representing over six million employees.

While Singapore has increased the number of women in management roles from 27 percent to 31 percent, it still lags behind other Asian markets when it comes to gender diversity. Women hold 35 percent of management roles in both Malaysia and mainland China, and 33 percent of management roles in Hong Kong.

Japan remains the poorest performer on gender with only 22 percent of its management roles, being held by women. Across all countries surveyed for the Guide, 52 percent employers report having formal diversity policies and procedures in place, but only 18 percent say their organisation adheres to these regulations “well” and a further 36 percent only “fairly well”.

In skill short areas, 59 percent of employers across all countries would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified candidate from overseas. This shows a 6 percent drop in comparison to last year’s results, which could be indicative of tightening labour laws in the countries surveyed or it could signal the need for employers to do more to attract skilled foreign workers for hard-to-fill positions.

The Guide reveals foreign employees account for only 21 percent of Singapore’s workforce – a fall of 7 percent when compared to the results of last year.

See: Singapore Encourages Career Opportunities for Women in Tech

Mainland China’s workforce is the least ethnically diverse with only 6 percent of its workforce hailing from another country, compared to 12 percent of Hong Kong’s workforce. Foreign workers comprise 11 percent of Malaysia’s workforce and just 9 percent of Japan’s workforce.

“Singapore continues to stand out when it comes to the diversity of its workforce and we applaud the greater number of women in management roles but it can do better,” says Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays in Singapore.“Considering the challenges and opportunities expected this year, it is important employers in Singapore have the widest talent pool to choose from when filling roles, especially roles experiencing skills shortages.”

Across all locations surveyed, 36 percent employers are concerned that they do not have the talent needed to meet their current business objectives. The majority (53 percent) of employers have indicated to have upskilled their current workforce to counter areas of skills shortages while 39 percent have focused on improving their candidate attraction strategies.

“We are seeing a raft of family-friendly measures being introduced in Singapore this year to help support working parents and we hope this further boosts the number of women reaching management roles,” Lynne added.

However, last year Singapore introduced changes to employment laws requiring additional criteria to be met when it comes to employing candidates from overseas, to ensure local candidates receive every consideration when companies are hiring.

“To remain competitive in the ever changing and complex business environment, companies need to be able to bring in talent from overseas with ease, when the right skill sets cannot be found locally,” Lynne concludes.

Also read: Skills Shortages Continue to Worry Employers in Singapore in 2017

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