Only 49 per cent of workers in Southeast Asia believe that their company actively considers workplace diversity in its recruitment/hiring practices, according to a recent diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) study conducted by Southeast Asia consumer research company Milieu Insight in March 2023.
This percentage is even lower in Singapore and Malaysia, where workers are more skeptical about the existence of equal opportunities for all employees, with 27 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, disagreeing that such opportunities exist.
The survey polled 500 working professionals and business owners aged 20-64 in six Southeast Asian countries.
The survey results indicate that workers in Singapore and Malaysia are less likely to believe in equal appraisals for all employees, with one in four of those surveyed in Singapore (27 per cent) and Malaysia (23 per cent) disagreeing that all employees in their company are held to the same performance standards, regardless of their background or status. As a result, workers in these countries appear to be the least satisfied in the region with their company's efforts to foster DEI in the workplace.
On the other hand, 71 per cent of workers in Vietnam, 63 per cent in Indonesia, and 61 per cent in Thailand feel that there are equal opportunities for all employees at their workplace.
However, the survey revealed that 68 per cent of workers in Vietnam and 53 per cent in the Philippines believe that their companies have effective policies and procedures in place to promote workplace diversity.
The study notes that DEI policies and initiatives have emerged as one of the top five critical factors that job seekers consider while searching for a suitable company or role, surpassing other crucial considerations like potential leaders/colleagues, passion for the role, and educational opportunities.
- Salary/Benefits - 87 per cent
- Company performance/stability - 63 per cent
- Flexible working arrangement - 60 per cent
- Ability for flexible working arrangement - 60 per cent
- DEI policies/initiatives - 54 per cent
With the talent landscape becoming more competitive, an organisation's culture plays a pivotal role in attracting prospective candidates and retaining current employees. However, there is still a long way to go in Southeast Asia to establish a workplace that is inclusive and equitable, shows the findings.