Less than half of organisations in Singapore have formal diversity policies and practices in place – a significant drop from last year, finds the latest Asia Salary Guide report by leading recruitment experts Hays.

This year marks the 13th edition of the annual Hays Asia Salary Guide, which remains a definitive snapshot of salaries for positions across industries in Asia. The salary and hiring insights, including a thorough market overview of business outlooks, salary policies and recruitment trends, are based on survey responses from close to 6000 working professionals located in the five Hays operating markets in Asia; namely China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

Growing diversity concerns

Results of the survey showed that only 47 per cent of employers in Singapore had formal diversity policies and practices in place, a figure that was surprising lower than the ones reported in the Asia Salary Guide 2019 (57 per cent) and the Asia Salary Guide 2018 (53 per cent). The survey also revealed a lack of progress in the area of women in management, with only 30 per cent of line managers in Singapore being female. This score is only a marginal increase from 29 per cent reported last year and is the lowest in the region after Japan (19 per cent).

According to findings from the 2019/2020 Hays Asia Diversity & Inclusion report, ageism is prevalent in Singapore, with one third of surveyed respondents saying age was a factor that could lower their chances of being selected for a job. In comparison to the rest of Asia, only respondents in China (44 per cent) saw it as a greater concern. In addition, 28 per cent said that age affected the equality of career opportunities, while 28 per cent said it influenced their salaries. Both figures were the highest in Asia.

This year’s Asia Salary Guide results could hence indicate a worrying trend as Singapore’s ageing population continues to grow amidst increasing reports of lack of workplace diversity.

Downtrend in overseas hiring

According to the survey, 28 per cent of employees in Singapore were non-citizenship or permanent residence holders – the highest percentage of such employees in Asia. This number has remained unchanged from last year, showing consistency in hiring policies. Interestingly, while the majority of employers in Singapore (60 per cent) said they would consider employing or sponsoring an overseas/expatriate candidate for skill-short areas – the highest percentage in Asia to say so after Japan (67 per cent) – this is still a drop from last year (65 per cent) and the year before (69 per cent). This could be indicative of a downward trend when it comes to hiring candidates from overseas.

Grant Torrens, Regional Director for Hays Singapore commented, “Singapore’s multicultural workforce has always set an example for the region in terms of diversity and fair employment practices. However, a growing ageing population and concerns over skill shortages within the local population have made it more important than ever that workplaces have formal diversity policies and practices in place. Our studies have repeatedly shown that workplace diversity is intrinsically linked to increased business success, innovation and productivity. With the government increasing its support for workplace training and upskilling, organisations would do well to follow suit and reap the benefits of a diverse workforce in the years to come.”

To download your copy of the 2020 Hays Asia Salary Guide, please click here.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2019 the Group employed 11,500 staff operating from 265 offices in 33 markets across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2019:

– the Group reported net fees of £1,129.7 billion and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £248.8 million;
– the Group placed around 81,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 254,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 18% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 27% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 32% in Rest of World (RoW);
– the temporary placement business represented 57% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 43% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA