A just-published survey – Refinitiv’s Top 100 diversity & inclusion companies – ranking companies globally for their D&I has featured no less than 21 from APAC.
Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand were all represented on the list. It was disappointing, however, that no Hong Kong company made the top 100.
The United States was the country with the most entries at 20. Investment management firm Black Rock topped the list.
While Hong Kong is not alone here, it does show that the city does have a way to go in the area of diversity & inclusion.
Anecdotal evidence bears this out. An event attended recently by Human Resources in Hong Kong, had one of the participants pose the question, “How do you upskill an ageing workforce?”
It is, of course, a dreadful question – rich as it with baked-in unconscious bias. The answer from the speaker, if anything was even worse, “Put them with some younger workers.”
As a corollary, it’s the equivalent of the equally dreadful Q&A pairing, Q: “How do you upskill a female workforce. ”A: “Put them with male workers.”
Or, Q: “How do you upskill a gay workforce.” A: “Put them with straight workers.”
As if the group being singled out is somehow inferior or incapable of learning when compared to others.
Also read: Unconscious bias: How to eliminate it from the workplace
But back to the original survey. To be fair, these surveys can vary in criteria and Hong Kong’s absence is not the be all and all. During my time as editor in Hong Kong with Human Resources, I have encountered a number of outstanding initiatives from the HR community, with Bloomberg and HSBC but two organisations that spring to mind.
There was also a progressive initiative by 2019 by Hong Kong’s beleaguered national carrier, Cathay Pacific, which featured a series of uplifting posters in its Move Beyond Labels campaign. One depicted two gay men holding hands as they walked along the beach. While inspiring for many, several very prominent Hong Kong companies took issue with it and covertly censored the poster until their actions become common knowledge, at which point there was a public outcry.
So while Hong Kong does have a way to go, it’s heartening to see that attitudes towards D&I are changing.
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