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Singapore businesses prioritise Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has become a heightened priority for 72% of Singapore organisations over the past year, with 55% planning to elevate investments accordingly in 2024, according to a recent study by Workday, a leading provider of organisational management solutions. The survey also revealed that 88% of Singapore organisations have a budget in place for DEI initiatives, exceeding the global average of 85%.

Nonetheless, the report highlighted a crucial point: almost a quarter (23%) of Singapore respondents disclosed their budgets are strictly allocated for short-term DEI initiatives. This underlines the need for a transition towards sustainable, long-term planning in advocating for DEI across enterprises.

Pannie Sia, general manager at Workday, ASEAN, interprets the findings: “One key challenge in furthering the DEI agenda has been the perceived inability to measure the return on investment of these initiatives. In order to close the gap between representation and belonging, Singapore organisations need to equip themselves with the right technology tools. This will allow leaders to collect more nuanced data and leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to effectively measure outcomes and further DEI efforts."

The primary DEI initiatives that Singapore organisations are executing include DEI training and support programmes for skills development and employee promotion. The leading business arguments for DEI in Singapore underscore the aim of enhancing staff wellbeing and making a positive contribution to business success through such investment.

Furthermore, Pannie Sia stated that “Embracing diversity is key to the success of any business. It is heartening to see more Singapore organisations making good progress towards DEI through incremental steps. Looking ahead, it is important that organisations start taking a more mature and robust approach to their DEI efforts, with shared ownership and commitment that comes from the top.”

Internal pressure, accounting for 62% of responses, was identified as the primary factor driving the implementation of DEI initiatives, as it occupies the top spot on the agenda for business leaders and employees in Singapore. Beyond internal pressure, a business's employer brand also serves as one of the most influential external factors prompting businesses to implement DEI.

Celebrating diversity in leadership is considered decisive for the successful execution of DEI initiatives, as noted by 86% of respondents. Additionally, 76% of study participants confirmed their organisations now measure the business impact and perceived value of DEI initiatives – a significant rise from 26% the previous year. However, nearly three-quarters (74%) admitted that recording DEI poses a challenge, as they require new software and systems to manage it.