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Asian professionals say a workplace that respects diverse opinion is key to retaining talent: Survey

SINGAPORE — The vast majority of employees across Asia feel that a “workplace culture that encourages respect for diversity of opinion” is the most important factor in talent retention, and about seven in 10 organisations in Singapore already practise this, a new survey has found.

Asian professionals say a workplace that respects diverse opinion is key to retaining talent: Survey

The survey report by recruitment agency Hays said Singapore had made vast improvements on the issue of gender diversity in recent years.

SINGAPORE — The vast majority of employees across Asia feel that a “workplace culture that encourages respect for diversity of opinion” is the most important factor in talent retention, and about seven in 10 organisations in Singapore already practise this, a new survey has found.

The survey findings, released to the media by Hays recruitment agency on Thursday (Nov 14), found that 85 per cent of some 2,000 working professionals based in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia believed that this inclusive approach is important.

But a markedly lower proportion across these markets, 63 per cent, felt their employers had such a workplace culture in place, a finding that “leaves room for improvement”, the survey report stated.

The survey, titled Locating Asia’s Untapped Innovators: Getting Below The Surface Of The D&I (diversity & inclusion) Iceberg, found that six in 10 of the respondents felt excluded from participation at their workplaces due to diversity and inclusion reasons.

However, the annual report found that employees in Singapore fared much better with almost six in 10 (57 per cent) telling Hays that this has never happened to them.

And not only did 86 per cent of the Singapore respondents agree that a workplace culture that encourages diversity of opinion benefits talent retention, 73 per cent said that their companies have already adopted this practice.

The report states that this makes Singapore the second-highest in Asia on this measure, after China’s 74 per cent.

Here are some other key findings from the report, first published on Oct 16.

LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE DIVERSE

The second most impactful practice for retaining talent, the report found, was by “having a diverse leadership team”.

While 79 per cent of the total respondents regarded this attribute as important, a much lower 57 per cent felt that their organisation had a diverse leadership team.

In Singapore, 82 per cent of respondents saw this as important, though the report did not state how many felt that this was the case in their workplace.

More than seven in 10 of all the respondents said that actively working to develop under-represented groups into leadership roles would most impact talent retention, but only 38 per cent of organisations practised this.

The report also found that 61 per cent of all respondents said their leaders were biased towards promoting people who “think, look or act like them”.

And four in five respondents, or 80 per cent, said that providing leaders with training to mitigate bias would be a “positive step forward”.

BETTER GENDER DIVERSITY, BUT AGEISM REMAINS A CONCERN

Another key diversity and inclusion issue is gender, an area where Singapore has “seen vast improvements in recent years”, the report said.

For instance, the report stated that 67 per cent of respondents in Singapore polled said “genders were equal when it came to pay and rewards” – up significantly from 48 per cent in 2017.

Still, the report said more can be done.

A study published by Australian finance website Finder found that women in Singapore are still paid 20 per cent less than men. It also said that the Republic ranked poorly in terms of women in board positions.

Hays’ report also found that 38 per cent of the Singapore-based respondents’ line managers were women, a drop from 45 per cent last year.

The recruitment agency said the issue of ageism remains a concern in Singapore.

In January this year, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad told parliament that the Ministry of Manpower and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices had received an average of 450 unfair employment practice complaints per year from 2015 to 2017.

Most of these complaints, said Mr Zaqy, were linked to age discrimination or favouritism towards foreigners.

In the Hays survey, a third of the respondents in Singapore believe that age is a factor that could lower their chances of being hired.

Of the markets surveyed, the report said that only respondents in China (44 per cent) saw this issue as a greater concern.

In addition, 28 per cent of the respondents in Singapore said that age affected the equality of career opportunities, while 28 per cent said that salaries were influenced by this factor. Both figures were the highest in Asia.

 

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workplace diversity retention talent

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