New data released this week by payroll and HR data firm ADP shows that Singapore workplaces have some of the highest incidences of age discrimination in the Asia Pacific region, with 17 percent of workers in Singapore saying they have experienced age discrimination in their current role. According to the survey data, which is part of ADP's Global Workforce View 2020 report, the regional average is 12 percent and the Asia Pacific as a whole has the highest incidence of perceived discrimination globally.
The data indicates that in Singapore, workers over the age of 55 are most likely to experience age discrimination, followed by workers under the age of 24. The sectors with the highest levels of age discrimination are finance, manufacturing, retail, and transportation/warehousing, although ADP did not release statistics on the age distribution of the workforce in these industries.
The issue, according to Yvonne Teo, Vice President – HR, APAC at ADP, is that in many Singapore workplaces, the processes and protocols required to address age discrimination—or other kinds of discrimination—appear to be lacking. 60 percent of workers do not know who to contact if they encounter discrimination, and 69 percent say they would be uncomfortable raising the issue at all.
In fact, 12 percent of the survey respondents said their organization does not even have a HR function, meaning that there is no one responsible for preventing or resolving discrimination cases. “Businesses who do not have this dedicated function are likely to be least prepared to effectively prevent and respond to discrimination in the workplace,” Teo said.
She advised business leaders to at the very least be aware of the liability that workplace discrimination presents:
“As a minimum, business owners and managers need to educate themselves on anti-discrimination laws. Not only is discrimination illegal, but employers have a duty of care to protect their teams from harassment or unfair treatment at work.”
“Secondly, every workplace should have established procedures relating to discrimination and harassment, which all staff are bound by. A clear framework to live by and processes to report instances of discrimination is the best way to protect both your business and your workers.”