Unidentified business people cross road in downtown Singapore. (Image by TK Kurikawa / Shutterstock.com)

Singapore performs poorly in two separate global polls on workplace diversity and inclusion

Singapore is among the worse countries in the world in terms of workplace diversity and inclusion practices, according to the inaugural Kantar Inclusion Index released on 17 September.

The index, by data, insights, and consulting firm Kantar, revealed that 24% of workers in Singapore said they have been bullied in the workplace this year. This is one of the highest in the world.

The survey compared employee responses from 18,000 people in 14 countries including Singapore. It spans 24 industries from health and pharmaceuticals to education, professional services, retail, financial services and the public sector.

Kantar’s results indicated that 44% of employees in Singapore say they were affected by stress and anxiety in the workplace, which is higher than the global average of 39%. Also, about 32% of Singaporean workers say they were made to feel uncomfortable by their employer.

On the other end of the spectrum was Canada which topped the ranks in terms of overall inclusion.

65% of employees in Canada say they believe their employers are actively trying to be more diverse and inclusive while only 20% said they have experienced workplace bullying this year.

Surprisingly, and perhaps encouraging given current sentiments in a Trump-led America, the US ranked second on the index with 60% of workers believing that their employers were trying to be more diverse and inclusive.

However, there were also 17% of those who said they have experienced bullying in the workplace.

“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,” said Global director Mandy Rico of the Kantar Inclusion Index.

In a different poll, the Refinitiv Global Diversity & Inclusion Index which was released on Tuesday (17 September), Singtel was listed as the only Singaporean company to make the top 100 most diverse and inclusive organisations in the world.

Ranked at 79th, Singtel joined another 22 Asia-Pacific companies on the list including nine Australian companies and five Japanese companies.

The Refinitiv D&I Index looked at 400 environmental, social and governance (ESG) data points to determine the relative performance of over 7,000 publicly listed companies across the globe, scoring organisations on four main pillars of diversity, inclusion, people development and controversies.

Two firms in neighbouring Malaysia made the list as well: Digi (61) and Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad (90). Other Asian firms that made it to the top 100 are Japan’s NTT Docomo (32), Shiseido (58), Sony (64) and Astellas Pharma (95) as well as South Korea’s Korea Gas Corp (50), Samsung C&T (52), Samsung Electronics (54) and Hankook Tire & Technology (80). Also on the list were Cathay Financial (35) in Taiwan and Unilever Indonesia (48).

Refinitiv chief revenue officer Debra Walton said: “Although some Asia-Pacific markets are more mature than others when it comes to ESG, it is gaining more momentum among businesses in the region.”

The US dominated the index with 25 organisations, followed by the UK with 10.

Of the industries that lead the index this year were 13 pharmaceutical firms; 11 in banking, investment services and insurance; nine in telecommunications; and seven in personal and household products and services.