Many companies in Asia are on the path towards rapid expansion across the region’s highly fragmented market. Unprecedented technological disruption and a shortage of people with skills in creativity and innovation are common headwinds that fast-growing companies face.
According to research from PWC in 2018, over 90% of Singapore business leaders believe a solution lies in talent diversity and inclusion. Yet, Asian norms present a challenge for business leaders and diversity advocates.
While American, Australian and European ideals generally celebrate difference, individuality and heterogeneity; a majority of Asian cultures emphasise the primacy of social harmony and the value of collective action. Diversity & Inclusion: An Asia Perspective, Mercer 2012
The Asian legislative landscape for inclusion does little to help the situation. The region is home to a patchwork of policies and practices:
- Most Asian countries have policies promoting greater workforce participation of people with disabilities
- Gender equality and support for working parents are increasingly on the agenda
- Promotion of multi-generational talent has become an economic necessity in Japan, Singapore and other aging markets.
Yet, policies are often poorly understood and enforcement is generally weak. Furthermore prevailing social stigma often results in LGBT, ethnic minorities and people from other marginalised groups being excluded from the talent pool. Thus inclusion in Asia, or lack thereof, has largely been driven by business imperatives.
When companies in Asia are considering the adoption of inclusive hiring practices, business leaders must be prepared to address three common misconceptions among hiring managers:
- assumptions that accommodating the needs of women, persons with disabilities and people from other underrepresented groups will yield low return on investment
- concern that diverse perspectives will negatively disrupt established workplace cultures
- diversifying talent pools requires employment standards to be lowered.
If you need to convince your hiring managers to make their recruitment processes more inclusive, here are five benefits that companies gain when they are inclusive:
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