Singapore Sees Rise in Number of Women in Managerial Positions

The number of women in managerial positions in Singapore has increased this year to 31 per cent while the percentage of foreign workers in Singapore has dipped to 21 per cent of the Singapore workforce, according to the findings in the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide.

The Guide, now in its tenth year, highlights salary and recruiting 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 per cent to 31 per cent, it still lags behind other Asian markets when it comes to gender diversity. Women hold 35 per cent of management roles in both Malaysia and mainland China and 33 per cent of management roles in Hong Kong. Japan remains the poorest performer on gender with only 22 per cent of its management roles held by women.

Across all countries surveyed for the Guide, 52 per cent of employers report having formal diversity policies and procedures in place but only 18 per cent say their organization adheres to these regulations “well” and a further 36 per cent only “fairly well.”

In skill short areas, 59 per cent of employers across all countries would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified candidate from overseas. This is a six per cent drop compared 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 to their hard to fill roles.

The annual Hays Asia Salary Guide reveals foreign employees account for 21 per cent of Singapore’s workforce – a fall of seven per cent compared to the results in last year’s Guide.

Mainland China’s workforce is the least ethnically diverse with only six per cent of its workers hailing from another country compared to 12 per cent of Hong Kong’s workforce. Foreign workers comprise 11 per cent of Malaysia’s workforce and just nine per cent 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,” Lynne says.

Across all locations surveyed by Hays, 36 per cent of employers are concerned they do not have the talent needed to meet their current business objectives.

The majority (53 per cent) of employers have indicated that they have up-skilled their current workforce to counter areas of skills shortages while 39 per cent 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,” says Lynne.

However, last year Singapore introduced changes to employment laws requiring additional criteria 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,” says Lynne.


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