In Singapore, LinkedIn recorded year-on-year growth of senior leaders taking the lead and initiating conversations about diversity on the platform. In addition, content on diversity gets on average 144% more engagement than the average company post. This is a positive sign that people are receptive to senior leaders’ call for gender diversity, which could ultimately help address the gender gap and ensure equitable recovery for all.
However, only 14% of working professionals in Singapore strongly agree that gender diversity is a priority in their organisation. While many women in Singapore now have the flexibility to work from home, they face other barriers when it comes to achieving opportunities, including lack of time (62%) and a difficult job market (58%). A lack of required skills (55%) and guidance from their network (50%) are also cited as barriers women face. The findings were uncovered by professional networking site LinkedIn, in line with international women’s day.
In spite of these barriers, women are prepared to work hard, but they desire equal access to opportunities as men. In fact, women see these two as the most important aspects (82% and 76% respectively) to getting ahead in life. Close to six in 10 Singaporeans saying that gender equality has improved compared to their parents’ time, however, many still feel gender bias continues to exist in the workplace. Four in 10 Singaporeans agree that women have fewer career advancement opportunities, and are paid less than men in their profession. This figure is more apparent among women and working mothers. In fact, almost six in 10 women in Singapore have experienced that their gender played a role in missing out on opportunities, promotion and pay.
While 70% think that gender equality is an important value for a fair society, half of the respondents believe that it has already come far enough and has been achieved to a satisfactory degree. Furthermore, over four in 10 think that gender equality is impossible to achieve, and this sentiment is higher among men.
This potentially shows that Singaporeans feel not much more can or should be done to further gender equality.
Feon Ang, vice president, talent and learning solutions, APAC, LinkedIn said Singapore’s workforce has taken a hit due to COVID-19 across the board, women included. The lack of time is the top barrier for women today — likely due to having to juggle remote working and family responsibilities.
“We also know that women are seeking to get ahead in life, and want equal access to opportunity as men. As a society, we need to start changing our societal perceptions on gender. In our organisations, too, we need to level the playing field for women. When we succeed, the economy and our organisations succeed as well. The government has announced that 2021 as the year of Celebrating SG Women — and this is an opportune time for all of us to carry this torch forward together,” And added.
“There is strength in numbers. When more organisations come together, we can do more to help bring equitable recovery for all. It always starts with one small step — from encouraging open conversations on diversity and equality, and advocating for practical initiatives from flexible working hours to mentoring programmes. We must foster the right culture and values in our organisation, to ensure that everyone progresses together, and no one is left behind. When we do this, we can achieve so much more,” said Ang.
Almost 8 in 10 Singaporeans feel they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, citing job insecurity, reduced work life balance and reduced pay. This has likely led to a cautious economic outlook amongst Singaporeans, with less than half (41%) expecting the economy to improve over the next six months and even fewer (27%) expecting their financial situation to improve over the same period. In addition, over 50% Singaporeans feel that it is harder now to overcome barriers such as a difficult job market and a lack of time, than before COVID-19.
Despite the bleak economic outlook, Singaporeans started looking for new opportunities beyond work, namely, to help others within the community. For example, 26% looked to providing safety support items like sanitizer and masks to others within the community, 24% looked for ways to serve society and 21 percent looked to help or mentor others to gain opportunities.
In addition, Singaporeans sought out learning opportunities. Learning new soft skills — leadership skills, creative thinking and problem solving — were sought after by more millennials and career starters, while learning new hard skills — business analysis, artificial intelligence and cloud computing — was sought after by Millennials.
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