Government data reveals positive trends in 2022
Instances of workplace and recruitment-based discrimination in Singapore experienced a second consecutive annual decrease in 2022, as indicated by government data released on Monday.
Within the realm of job seekers, the proportion of individuals facing discrimination during their job search dropped to 23.8% in 2022, down from the 25.8% recorded in 2021 and a significant reduction from the 42.7% reported in 2018.
Based on a survey encompassing 3,600 Singaporeans, prevalent forms of discrimination encountered by job seekers centred around:
- Age (16.6%)
- Race (7.1%)
- Mental health (5%)
- Family status (4.3%)
- Gender (4.2%)
Instances of mental health discrimination saw an increase from the preceding year’s 2.9% in 2021, securing the third position this year and overtaking nationality, which held the third spot the prior year.
“This might be partially attributed to heightened expectations for employers to address their employees’ mental well-being, coupled with a rise in the proportion of residents within the workforce grappling with mental health conditions,” the report explained.
While diminishing, advertisements favouring specific demographic characteristics without valid justification remained the most prevalent source of discrimination for job seekers, as outlined by the report.
Additionally, another form of discrimination stemmed from employers’ requests for personal information not relevant to the job at hand. The report noted, “Age, marital status, and nationality were the most commonly requested personal details in job applications or during interviews.”
Meanwhile, instances of discrimination experienced by employees within workplaces declined to 8.2% in 2022, a slight decrease from the 8.5% observed the preceding year and a substantial decline from the 24.1% noted in 2018.
The report delineated workplace discrimination as unjust treatment in areas including salary, career advancement, and distribution of workload. Respondents indicated that instances of unfair treatment encompassed:
- Salary (56%)
- Workload distribution (46%)
- Performance evaluations (44.7%)
- Promotions (44.7%)
- Career growth (38.7%)
- Bonuses (36.7%)
- Daily interactions at work (26.7%)
The report further identified that employees experienced discrimination based on personal attributes such as:
- Mental health (4.7%)
- Age (3.7%)
- Race (2.6%)
- Disability (2.5%)
- Nationality (2.5%)
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) credited the declining figures to “combined efforts among stakeholders to advocate and maintain equitable employment practices.”
The report disclosed that the percentage of employees seeking assistance after encountering discrimination nearly doubled to 35.3% in 2022, a significant rise from the 20% reported in 2021.
“Majority of the employees (75.3%) who sought help for discrimination were able to do so through formal channels provided by their company or their labour union,” the report highlighted.
Those who chose not to report discrimination cited fear of marginalisation at work or straining work relationships (23.1%), apprehensions about potential effects on their professional trajectory or future job prospects (21.5%), and 16% expressed that previous incidents had eroded their trust in management’s impartial handling of such matters.
MOM underscored that employees and job seekers encountering discrimination could avail themselves of their employers’ grievance resolution processes and may also reach out to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices for assistance.
These findings align with Singapore’s ongoing efforts to introduce new legislation promoting workplace equity, aimed at eradicating discrimination within organisations.
“As we enact the Workplace Fairness Legislation, we will further fortify our stance against workplace discrimination in Singapore and ensure equitable opportunities for our workforce,” stated MOM in a press release.