Diversity Matters in the Workplace. Here’s How

Know the laws and initiatives that protect you from discrimination at the workplace.

With Singapore being a meritocratic society, where career advancement is driven by ability and hard work, 73.5% of the diverse respondents for the annual Singapore 100 Leading Graduate Employers Survey 2021 conducted by GTI Media Singapore (S100 Survey) chose equal opportunities as one of the top factors that would affect their decision when choosing an employer.

Most employers understand the importance of equal opportunities and diversity for their workforce, and many companies have incorporated them as core values. After all, employees from different backgrounds, culturally and otherwise, are able to bring varying perspectives and ideas that may potentially help to grow the business.

In this article, we look at how employees are protected against workplace discrimination and the possible diversity issues to look out for.

Protection from the law

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and several other organisations have developed guidelines and programmes to keep employers and unfair discriminatory practices in check.

Singapore also has anti-discrimination laws in place to protect the diverse races and religions in the country, and maintain its multicultural, yet cohesive nature. For instance, Article 12 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore prohibits any sort of discrimination in terms of religion, race, descent and place of birth — in “establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment”.

Anti-discriminatory initiatives

Singapore has taken a hard stance against discrimination in the workplace and has put teeth into its efforts, as is seen with the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) Watchlist, introduced in 2016 to pinpoint employers who have shown an indication of discriminatory hiring practices.

If you feel discriminated against at any point of your employment, the MOM and Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) may act as mediators for your case. Both bodies aim to perpetuate a fair and safe employment landscape for all employees.

The importance of an inclusive workplace

Diversity in Singapore’s workforce has increased over the past decade with globalisation. Even with measures that keep everybody home, internet connectivity means that employees of different ages, races, religions and sexualities are working together in teams — in every company — on a daily basis.

With such diversity, every employer should cultivate an inclusive workplace. Employers need to appreciate differences in employees and maximise potential. For instance, Deloitte found that if organisations leveraged the various perspectives, experiences and insights from employees of different backgrounds, they generated revenue of 30% higher than those that didn’t.

Employers in Singapore generally have a framework for managing diversity — large companies even have dedicated departments or programmes in place! If you encounter discrimination, be it in the application process or in the workplace, don’t just ignore it. Trust your instincts and protect your rights. Consider reporting to the Human Resources department or refusing the job offer. There are employers out there who will value your individuality and are constantly working towards an inclusive workplace that deserves your unique self with your skillsets and capabilities.

This article is contributed by GradSingapore.

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