Recruiting expert Hays feels that a greater focus on gender diversity needs to be a goal for employers in Malaysia in 2018. This follows a new research that shows the number of women in management is increasing, albeit slowly. This is just one of the key findings from the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide which in its 11th year, highlights salary and recruiting trends based on responses from more than 3,000 employers across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Last year’s Salary Guide showed women held 35 per cent of management roles in Malaysia with the figure reported in the latest research at 38 per cent.
The 2018 Asia Salary Guide also shows a small increase in the number of organisations with a formal diversity policy in Malaysia – 54 per cent to 52 per cent. And of those companies with a dedicated diversity policy, 22 per cent claim to adhere to it “well”, a three per cent increase from last year.
“We are seeing some gains in gender diversity in Malaysia in certain sectors, but we need more women rising up the ranks in business so there is a pipeline of talent to the top including board roles,” said Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia. “Our Guide shows organisations in Malaysia – and elsewhere in Asia – continue to struggle with the diversity issue – but if businesses are to manage ever increasing levels of complexity and challenge, they will need a diversity of thinking in their management ranks and gender diversity is a big part of that,” said Tom. “Having a formal diversity policy appears part of the issue, yet even those that do have a formal policy fail to adhere to it a large part of the time.”
“Our research also shows an increase in the number of companies offering flexible work practices too in Malaysia (54 per cent in 2018 vs 50 per cent in 2017) at a time when more women, but also men say such options are a priority for them. Flexible work arrangements are an important way to retain talent who may also have family responsibilities no matter what their gender. The results in this regard are promising, but I fully hope the figure will increase further next year” said Tom.
Malaysia (38 per cent) is at the top of the pack compared to the five countries surveyed regarding women in management positions. Mainland China is second with 37 per cent. Singapore ranks third with 30 per cent of women in management roles. In Hong Kong the figure is just 29 per cent and in Japan, women fill only 22 per cent of management roles. Malaysia ranks first with 54 per cent of companies reporting they have a formal diversity policy in place compared to 53 per cent in Singapore, 52 per cent in Japan, 51 per cent in Mainland China and 47 per cent in Hong Kong.
Of the companies in Malaysia that do have a formal diversity policy in place, nine per cent admit they are struggling to adhere to it while a disappointing 28 per cent are unsure how well their organisation is managing adherence. Another 41 per cent claim to adhere to their policy ‘fairly well’ and 22 per cent ‘well’.
Flexible work practices
Of the employers surveyed in Malaysia, 54 per cent offer flexible work practices – an increase on last year’s 50 per cent figure reported, however the figure is the lowest in the region. In our 2018 research, Japan leads the pack with 70 per cent of employers offering flexible work options followed by Mainland China at 66 per cent. Next is Singapore at 62 per cent followed by Hong Kong (57 per cent).
The 2018 Asia Salary Guide shows that foreigners comprise 13 per cent of the workforce in Asia. An increase of one per cent from last year. In Malaysia, it was found that ten per cent of the workforce in the country is foreign, a one per cent decrease from last year. In skill short areas, 48 per cent of companies in Malaysia would consider recruiting a qualified candidate from overseas but 52 per cent would not.
Singapore (19 per cent) still leads the pack when compared to other key Asian markets for the numbers of foreign workers employed. Along with Malaysia, only ten per cent of all employees surveyed in Mainland China are foreign. In Japan, the figure is 13 per cent and in Hong Kong, it’s 14 per cent.
When it comes to being willing to become an expat worker, workers in Malaysia rank number one compared to candidates in other countries. When asked if they were willing to relocate to another country to work, 71 per cent in Malaysia said ‘yes’ with Hong Kong following at 68 per cent. In Singapore, the figure was 64 per cent, Mainland China (61 per cent) and Japan (60 per cent).