Lack of adherence to policies and reduced numbers in women in management means the increasing implementation of diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices by employers in Malaysia has not produced results. The Hays Asia Salary Guide 2019 reveals that more companies in Malaysia (54 per cent in 2018 vs 49 per cent in 2019) have not been putting diversity policies into place. Added to this, the number of employers stating that these policies are ‘well adhered to’ has fallen from 22 per cent in 2018 to 14 per cent in 2019.
“As the diversity of a company is known to translate to greater creativity and innovation, it is alarming that fewer companies are putting more policies in place,” says Tom Osborne, regional director of Hays Malaysia. “Adding to the concern is that adherence to policies is falling, and it is essential that employers look into tactics that ensure that their policies are not only implemented, but also followed.”
Malaysia has seen a marginal increase of overseas candidates employed in its companies, from 10 per cent in 2018 to 13 per cent in 2019. In skill-short areas, close to half (49 per cent) of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas or expatriate candidate.
By contrast, the country is seeing a slight decline of the percentage of women in management positions. While employers in the recent survey say that women make up 35 per cent their leadership teams, this number is down slightly from 38 per cent in 2018.
Most employers in Malaysia are providing a myriad of flexible working options. Informal flexible working at an employees’ line manager’s discretion (voted by 29 per cent) is the most common option provided by employers, followed by flexi-time –– in which they are able to change work hours outside of “core” business periods –– (voted by 28 per cent), and home or remote working (voted by 25 per cent).
Correspondingly, employees are taking advantage of the options available to them with one in five of them (23 per cent) making use of the home or remote working option, while 19 per cent opt for informal flexible working and 18 per cent for and flexi-time.
“While flexible working practices can be enjoyed by all staff, regardless of gender, the ability to work from home and flexible working hours are particularly advantageous for working mothers, enabling them to balance family obligations with their careers,” comments Tom. “By extending these options further, employers can see even greater improvement in diversity operating in the upper echelons of organisations, thus enhancing innovation, improving staff retention and attraction rates, as well as encouraging new role models for the next generation of a diverse profile of managers.”