A recent report published in the Straits Times, stating that Singapore is the 2nd worst in the world for workplace diversity with 1 in every 4 workers abused at work. Really? Is Singapore such a bad workplace?
Singapore is known to many as one of Asia’s major economic players. Many foreigners looking for work often flock to Singapore since many work opportunities are in the country. From administrative jobs to minimum wage jobs, it is available for all.
However, the report shows that while there is ample work in Singapore, the openness and inclusivity of workplaces for workers is not ideal.
Kantar’s Inclusion Index Report
On September 17, data and consulting Kantar released their first Kantar Inclusion Index.
The index collected employee feedback from 18,000 respondents from 14 countries. They also included 1,050 Singaporeans to share their experiences.
It also covers 24 industries in Singapore, from health and pharmaceuticals to the public sector. These respondents were asked about how welcoming their workplace are and what comments they have about the workplace.
Rate is Surprisingly High
The findings show that almost 24% of Singaporean workers say that they were bullied while they were in their workplace last year. Kantar says this rate is surprising because it brought the country close to the countries which also had high scores on workplace bullying.
The survey results also said that Singaporean workers are likely to feel more “uncomfortable” because of their employers. This probability is higher than any other country included in the survey.
Singaporean workers also shared that many of them (or 44%) struggle with stress, pressure and anxiety caused by work. The rating is above the 39% global average, which is alarming considering the risks involved with work-related anxiety. If it is not prevented, these workers may be at risk to serious diseases or even death.
Other First World Countries fare better
When it came to workplace inclusion and diversity, Canada ranked the highest out of the countries the index looked into. At least 40% of senior or assistant head positions in Canadian companies are held by women.
Two-thirds or 65% of the Canadian respondents say their employers are working actively to make the workplace more welcoming to all. However, some of the respondents (or one-fifth) said they did not escape from workplace bullying.
The United States follows closely with its workplace diversity and inclusion. The study showed that the country’s companies ensures both men and women are given equal opportunities and 30% of senior leadership roles are held by workers with ethnicity.
At least 6 in 10 US workers also said that they feel that their employers are doing their best to be more open and welcoming. However, bullying is still reported by some of the respondents as 17% said they experienced bullying.
Global Director for the Kantar Inclusion Index Mandy Rico said that “A significant amount of work remains to be done to make workplaces more inclusive, diverse and equal, especially around the subject of bullying, which persists at high levels around the world.”
Kantar’s report helps out companies to measure their business rules and etiquette. The index indicates which areas can be should be improved upon.
Refinitiv’s Diversity and Inclusion Index Report
Aside from the Kantar Inclusion Index, Refinitiv, a popular data analyst for financial groups also released its Diversity and Inclusion Index on the same day.
In its top 100 most diverse and inclusive organizations list, Singaporean telecommunications firm Singtel was the only company in the list from Singapore. It even ranked at 79th in the global ranking.
There were also 22 companies from the Asia-Pacific were also recognized in the top 100. These firms came from various sectors like retail, insurance, telecommunications and chemicals.
The Refinitiv D&I Index measure is up for a four year running. It looks into the performance of 7,000 companies who represent 70% of the global market cap across more than 400 environmental, social and governance (ESG) data.
The companies are judged based on four criteria: inclusion, diversity, controversies and people development. Companies who scored in these four criteria are then given an total score, which is computed from the average score from these criteria. The first 100 are then selected and ranked based on their overall score.
Australia has the most number of companies with great workplace diversity and inclusion. Nine Australian companies are in the top 100, followed by Japan which had 5 companies in the list.
Refinitiv’s chief revenue officer Debra Walton said that while there are stand out Asia-Pacific companies which value ESG, other firms are now valuing ESG as well.
She also said: “The increasing transparency in the reporting of social metrics will offer opportunities for investors to better integrate ESG principles into the investment and strategy decision-making process.”
In Refinitiv’s list, 25 companies are from the United States. The United Kingdom follows this with 10 companies, with Australia having 9 firms in the top 100. When it comes to the industries, 13 pharmaceutical firms dominated the rankings. It is followed by 11 banking, investment and insurance firms, 9 telecommunication firms and 7 firms handling personal services.
For those who wish to review Refinitiv’s D&I Index, it is available in the company’s trading and computing software known as Eikon. The software also has the metrics for inclusivity and diversity which were used for the study.
These metrics are also used by financial professionals to check companies for investment risks and potential. The lower their scores are, the higher the risks they have. The higher their scores are in the metrics, the better results they can produce to investment.
What Does Singapore’s Council for Board Diversity Say?
These new reports mirrors last week’s report from Singapore’s Council for Board Diversity.
According to their analysis, only 15.7% of senior heads in top Singapore companies with high market value are women. It only increased by 0.5% in the first six months of 2019.
With these numbers, it is unlikely that the council will be able to reach its target of 20% workplace inclusivity and diversity by the end of 2020.
Nowadays, it is important that companies make their employees feel welcome and at home. An oppressive and unwelcoming workplace affects their productivity and feel unsafe. Some may even find it hard to work because of the pressures their workplace can induce.
I believe the positive aspect of this report is that it create awareness among us and together we can ensure that there are no silent victims and no abuse should ever be tolerated in the workplace.
For related articles about bullying in the workplace, here are some more insights:
What Is A Toxic Workplace?
How to Deal with Sexual Harassment at your Workplace
How to Deal with a Bad Boss
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