How small initiatives can bolster workforce diversity in Asia
‘Female cabins’ and ‘equal pay’ are winning themes for The Asset Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
Once the purview of a company's HR organization, diversity and inclusion today are increasingly a challenge for top management.
And it should be. As companies in Asia do more business globally, diversity is of vital importance. A rich mix of employees with varied perspectives and experiences contribute to overall productivity and ultimately to a company's success.
But a large number of corporations in the region don't realize this. Management ranks and boardrooms remain led almost exclusively by men. There remain few women in top management in Asia's top corporations.
The Asset Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative recognizes the efforts of exceptional companies such as China Telecom Corp and Fubon Financial Holding in promoting diversity and transparency through various initiatives.
China Telecom has been offering programmes that provide a better working environment for female employees. It built "mummy cabins" in frontline units such as sale outlets and customer service areas to provide a lounge area for female employees and to facilitate breast feeding.
It aims to address opportunity inequity through mindful promotion of people regardless of gender and ethnicity. For its female field workers, it mandated the use of radiation protection suits. The company says it wants to promote diversity in the boardroom where currently it has only two women directors.
In Taiwan, Fubon Financial observes pay equality in the workplace. The pay gap between men and women in similar positions at Fubon ranges 4-12%, with female managers at levels actually earning more than their male counterparts, according to Fubon.
The company offers comprehensive training to prepare women to take on managerial roles. Based on latest HR numbers, women accounted for 60% of the Fubon workforce, about 54% are in management positions.
The company also fosters health and work-life balance for employees, especially women, These policies are intended to contribute to the health of the Taiwan economy, where the birth rate of 8.9% (in 2016) is among lowest in the world, says the company.
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