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Perceptions of fairness, depicted by pieces of a pie

An unequal piece of the pie? Perceptions of fairness across Asia

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As employers, most of us constantly try to uphold the values of justice, transparency and fairness. And with work forming such a huge chunk of employees’ life, it’s noteworthy when respondents from Asian countries voice out the age-old retort: “Life isn’t fair”.

Online research firm, YouGov, polled over 9,000 people in Asia Pacific to find that 70% of Hongkongers think life isn’t fair, a sentiment echoed by close to three in five Singaporeans (59%) – both typically counted as “developed countries” by the survey.

In what were listed as “emerging countries”, the sentiment was more positive – with close to three in four Indonesians (72%) tending to think life is fair, agreed upon by more than half of Malaysians (52%).

Overall in the region, people are slightly more inclined to believe life is fair (42%) compared with 40% saying life is not fair.

The survey also found that perceptions of fairness differ across demographics and life experiences, whereby more men (44%) than women (39%) think that life is fair. Further, people who are married (48%) are more likely to think life is fair, compared with single people (37%).

A criteria to determine fairness: What makes us successful

No matter whether life is fair or not, is there anything we can do about it? When asked the reasons for success, the following are the top five factors credited by APAC respondents:

  • Hard work (79%)
  • Ability (77%)
  • Education (65%)
  • Courage (65%)
  • Relationships (56%)

While these factors are generally similar across demographics, some countries see other reasons for success more important. For example, in Vietnam (74%)and Hong Kong (65%), ‘luck’ is seen as an important factor to be successful, while in Thailand, people think ‘charisma’ (46%) is an important factor of success.

Interestingly, only 32% of people in Thailand think ‘hard work’ is a factor of success – this is way lower than the regional average (79%), and just one-third of the percentage found in the Philippines (91%).

Infographic / YouGov
Lead photo / 123RF

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