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Still more work to be done to push for inclusion and diversity in workplaces: study

MORE needs to be done to get businesses to embrace inclusion and diversity in the workplace, but experts see it as an uphill task.

The Workday Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018 - Singapore released on Wednesday concludes that while diversity and inclusion are recognised as a booster for morale as well as innovation and creativity, women are still under-represented in leadership roles. Also, not enough is done to support the disabled and age discrimination remains much alive, says the report based on a study by Workday, a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources.

But experts see no easy solutions. A key reason is the lack of women to take the lead in pushing for a breakthrough. The study, which covered 100 senior human resources executives, indicated that over half (52.8 per cent) of Singapore companies have less than 20 per cent of women in leadership roles.

Another reason is a big gender perception gap of the problem. While 80 per cent of the men said their companies were doing enough to support women in the workplace, only 65 per cent of the women agreed, according to the study.

Furthermore, most of the companies have not drawn up policies for diversity and inclusion. Only 16 per cent of the companies were found to have such polies for the disabled and 35 per cent for ageism.

But the study found that the biggest barriers to more diversity and inclusion are a lack of flexible working conditions and a company culture that's still averse to diversity and inclusion.

"Studies show businesses see greater profitability and productivity when their workplaces are more diverse and inclusive," says David Hope, Workday's president for the Asia-Pacific region.

"With one quarter of Singapore's residents being ethnic minorities, an ageing workforce and 3.4 per cent of the population identifying as disabled, diversity and inclusion is a critical issue for local businesses."