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IWD2018 special: How CapitaLand, DBS, P&G and more are pressing for progress



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In line with this year’s theme for International Women’s Day – #PressForProgress – Human Resources’ Jerene Ang surveyed more than 20 organisations with the question “What is your company doing to push for progress when it comes to thinking, acting and being gender inclusive?”

We’re excited to announce that this is just the first article in this eight-part series focusing on women leadership, and bridging the gap in gender diversity in organisations. Stay tuned for more!


Tan Seng Chai, group chief people officer, CapitaLand Group

CapitaLand embraces diversity and inclusivity, recognising that we are only as successful as our people.  We rely on the collective talent, expertise and experience of the many women and men within the company, to enrich communities through our real estate planning, design and development capabilities.

CapitaLand’s global workforce of more than 16,000 employees from over 80 nationalities, comprises an almost equal proportion of men and women. Our women employees are well represented at the middle and senior management level with about 52% female managerial employees.

To support our employees’ needs of work and life, we have a wide range of family-friendly policies, flexible work arrangements, wellness programmes and purpose-built facilities in our workplace. Guided by our credo, ‘Building people. Building communities.’, we remain committed towards creating a conducive workplace and corporate culture for our global workforce.


Jorge Osorio, head of human resources, Citi Singapore

At Citi, embracing diversity is a key part of who we are as it helps us drive growth and progress. In Citi Singapore, women make up 44% of our total workforce and one-in-three employees in operations and technology – a male-dominated role in most organisations – is female. Last year, 60% of the analysts we hired from the technology analyst programme are women, up from 40% in 2016.

As an extension of our commitment, we have adopted Citi’s Global Affinity Model and workgroups have been formed to better understand and serve the needs of our diverse global employee base, including Women Affinity which offers support, networking and community engagement opportunities to our female colleagues.

This is in addition to specialised women development programmes for different stages of their career. One example is the launch of the EDGE last year, a six-month programme for AVPs in various countries in Asia Pacific including Singapore. Designed to groom and develop a pipeline of female leaders, the programme seeks to develop their personal skills including personal branding, work-life integration and effective communication, while giving them access to network with senior women at Citi.

Maternity Matters is another initiative that has been recently introduced to enable women to thrive at work while honouring their family commitments. One key element is a toolkit designed for managers to provide them with practical and essential information to support women who are pregnant, on maternity leave or returning to work.

We have also enhanced our Maternity Expense Reimbursement policy to allow claims to be processed per new born instead of per delivery, which greatly benefits parents expecting multiples. The reimbursement amount has also been increased from S$2,500 to S$3,500 with effect from 1 January 2018. In addition, the benefit has expanded to cover adoption expenses.

ALSO READ: Citi Singapore: Making progress on diversity and inclusion


Lee Yan Hong, group head of human resources, DBS Bank

DBS strongly believes in meritocracy and having the best person, regardless of gender, for the job. We embrace diversity and inclusion for a purpose, and I am proud to be part of the team to deliver that – to create an environment that enables people to be the best they can be. Our people can thrive regardless of backgrounds as the diversity of experiences and knowledge they bring to the table can help drive change and make a difference to deliver impact to the bank.


Nicolina Marzicola, regional head of HR, HP Asia Pacific and Japan

HP believes that the ultimate driver of our success will always be our diverse, inclusive global employee community. Diversity and inclusion is key to driving our innovation, especially in this part of the world that is so culturally rich and diverse. By embracing the diversity and the depth of talent across the region, HP is harnessing even better ideas from the innovation from each market.

Diversity and inclusion programmes are part of our regional Intentional People Strategy that empowers and nurtures our diverse pool of talent. An example is our ‘Disha’ programme in India. Meaning ‘direction’ in Hindi, the six-month learning programme increases the readiness of women in India, and contributes to the building of our leadership pipeline across the region.

In comparison to industry averages of 30%, women now make up more than 55% of broader employee functions, including legal, finance, HR and marketing. Women also represent approximately 20% of general and software engineering positions at HP, higher than the tech industry average at around 16% for all women in technical roles. For example, our newly launched Smart Manufacturing and Research Center (SMARC), which oversees the adoption of new technologies, is helmed by Jamie Neo, who first dabbled in engineering when she joined HP 26 years ago.

By valuing differences, we engage top industry talent to drive our company’s long-term success.


Pearl Yu, director of human resources and marketing, Keystone Cable

We recognise that men and women bring different perspectives – even to the same job, and this difference helps enrich the competitiveness of the organisation. Hence despite being in an industry, cable manufacturing, that is traditionally male dominated, our focus is on finding the right person for the right job, regardless of gender.

If we find that a candidate’s qualifications meet our job skill requirements, we would interview them to provide both the person and ourselves the opportunity to identify the right match. It is through this philosophy where we have made some of our best hires and internal transfers of women into traditionally men-dominated roles such as in our quality control and production departments.

To date, we have made good progress within the office, technical team and corporate functions where half the staff strength are women. To ensure we do not miss out on good talent, we have also started to hire women who are capable but are unable to commit to full-time work as they need to balance family requirements. We provide such employees the same benefits as our full-time staff.

As a HCPartner, Keystone Cable is part of the community of progressive employers under the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices’ (TAFEP’s) human capital partnership (HCP) programme.


Atul Gaur, human resources director, L’Oréal Singapore

L’Oréal is a long-standing champion of gender inclusivity, firmly believing that it increases well-being at work, boosts growth, and fuels innovation and creativity. Bloomberg 2018 Gender-Equality Index highlights this, where we are among the top 100 companies committed to gender equality globally, and also achieved the maximum score in the community and product categories.

In Singapore, our management has good ratio of women to men leadership even in divisions like research and innovation, and this is emphasised in our merit-based employment practices. Employees are engaged on this topic, and we have open talk channels to share their views.

As we have many working mothers, we provide benefits that enhance their well-being, with nursing room in the offices, maternity expense coverage, and flexible work arrangements, including flexi-hours and work from home.


Karen Yen, people and organisation director, Developing Asia, Mars Wrigley Confectionery

At Mars, we take diversity seriously. We recognise that the advancement and empowerment of women will make a difference in the success of our business and society.

Mars believes that there is no one-size-fits-all profile of our associates and we seek to attract diverse talent. We strive to build a vibrant inclusive workplace and are focused on identifying ways to create gender-balanced teams, with more female representation in typically underrepresented roles such as general managers, sales and supply chain. We are particularly proud that currently, seven out of 11 members of our management team in Developing Asia are female.

Across the region, we have also created policies that promote work-life integration. An office that enjoys such policies include Malaysia where associates can enjoy flexi-time between 7.30am – 9.30am or the option to work from home when necessary. Our offices are also equipped with nursing and prayer rooms to provide ease of convenience and we are currently working on expanding our maternity benefits.

We hope that by building a great place to work, it would in turn encourage our associates to push boundaries and maximise their potential here in Mars.


Stefanie Drews, global head of product and marketing, Nikko Asset Management (based in Tokyo)

Nikko AM has a global diversity and inclusion (D&I) effort in place, and diversity is integral to how we differentiate ourselves, in speaking to our nature as a global player with Asian DNA. D&I is led at a functional level by the D&I advocate, reporting into an appointed D&I head who is a global executive committee (GEC) member – the most senior group of managers in the firm. This allows for real grass-root input across the firm, and makes for strong bottom-up engagement.

In the very first instance, what was important to us as a firm was to honestly accept that there are issues surrounding women in finance that need to be addressed. We provide an anonymous mechanism for women (and men) to post their concerns, which are then discussed in the relevant D&I working group.

Second, we feel that solutions need to be truly effective (and not just a tick-in-the-box). This is where the functional leadership works well, because solutions come from the very place that these concerns are raised.

We use our internal communication platforms, which are transparent and fully interactive across all levels, for open and ongoing debate on all issues, and ensure this is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, male or female.

The transparency we bring to the D&I effort, as well as our focus on functionally-driven solutions, are a different, but we feel more effective, way to move this cause forward.

As a HCPartner, Nikko Asset Management is part of the community of progressive employers under the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices’ (TAFEP) Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Programme.


Magesvaran Suranjan, president, Asia Pacific and president, India, Middle East, and Africa – Procter & Gamble

Gender equality is deeply integrated into P&G’s DNA. In P&G Asia Pacific, we have pressed for progress in gender equality through our #WeSeeEqual programme.

We empower our female employees from their first day. We strive for equal representation at all levels. To enable this, we provide support systems from flexible work arrangements to childcare facilities. In P&G Asia Pacific, we are proud that 50% of our managers are women.

We empower our female employees throughout their career with mentorship and sponsorship. Every member of our senior leadership team, certainly including myself, have high potential female employees as mentees. We offer clear development plans and career paths for every employee regardless of gender.

We also have an initiative called ‘Men as Allies’ which helps ensure that all men in our organisation are committed and involved in balancing the scale. We believe that every employee, regardless of position or gender, has a role to play to drive sustained progress.

We’re certainly proud of our focus on gender diversity – because this allows us not only to be the ’employer of choice’ that hires and retains the best talent in the world – but also enables the diversity in thinking and innovation that allows us to create brands and products that improve the lives of consumers now and in the future.


Aileen Tan, group chief human resources officer, Singtel Group

Singtel is a gender neutral employer, and we give equal opportunities to both our male and female employees. We believe that diversity of gender and other aspects is the catalyst for innovative thinking that enhances our competitive advantage.

Currently, female employees account for 37% of our total workforce in Singapore and 32% in Australia. Women represent a third of our top management and board positions in the Group, compared to a Singapore average of 31% and just 9.7% respectively.

We are analysing recruitment activities for women applicants across the Group. This will enable us to highlight job areas where they are disproportionately fewer compared to male applicants. We plan to use the findings to advocate greater female representation at policy and operational levels.

Besides this, we’ve a Women in Leadership Series which provides our female employees with networking, coaching and mentoring opportunities, and builds a durable pipeline of female talent across the Group.

We want to enable women who work at the Singtel Group to fulfil their career aspirations, and will continue to provide equal opportunities to all our employees.


Ng Lip Gee, human resources director, Watsons Singapore

Watsons Singapore has pledged towards fair employment – regardless of gender and in support of inclusiveness and diversity – several years ago. The pledge is displayed in the reception lobby as a daily reminder of our dedication to employees.

More recently, Watsons has signed and adopted the Tripartite Standards on Recruitment Practices. One of the specifications under this Standard include stating the selection criteria that are related to qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience required for the job in the job advertisements. Where specific attributes e.g. proficiency in a particular language or the need for employees of a particular gender are needed, the reasons are stated clearly. These are practices that we abide by to create a conducive environment for employees.

For Watsons Singapore, the demographic is 70% women and 30% men. The senior management team consists of 78% women and 22% men. Watsons is an organisation that supports gender inclusiveness.


Part two: Pearls of wisdom: Women leaders share powerful tips on career success

Part three: #PressForProgress: How 3M, Mastercard, TWG Tea, and more are pushing for gender inclusivity

Part four: Journey to the top: Women leaders recount challenges throughout their career

Part five: Wise words from 15 women leaders on career success

Part six: Challenges women face when climbing the corporate ladder

Part seven: Closing the gap: How Henkel, Mondeléz, and more advocate for gender inclusivity

Part eight: Breaking down walls: Women leaders recount career challenges



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Jerene Ang
Senior Journalist
Human Resources Magazine Singapore
From knowing almost nothing about HR to being able to hold meaningful conversations with industry leaders, Jerene reads, writes and sources for HR stories when not spending her time sleeping or playing with her dog.

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