Australia improves DEI scores but APAC lagging in overall representation
Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are lagging in APAC markets, with the region falling below the global average on several benchmarks, according to research by Kantar.
DEI initiatives are struggling in APAC, despite growing awareness and importance among businesses and brands
The annual Inclusion Index benchmark 2022 is a global study of 13 countries and includes three major APAC markets: Australia, India and Japan.
This year’s report revealed DEI initiatives were struggling in all three markets, despite some signs of positive progress.
However, the results were in line with the overall global findings, which suggested progress has stalled, despite the increasing visibility of DEI in business and brand agendas.
Australia showed the second-largest growth in DEI progress since 2019, increasing by 7% to reach 55%; however, this figure was predominantly driven by developments in gender representation.
Australia, along with Mexico, recorded the biggest growth in DEI scores; however, the two countries were the worst performing in the 2019 study.
Japan, on the other hand, has gone backwards, with its DEI score decreasing by -4% to 48%, while India also underperformed, achieving a score of 41%. Both countries' 2022 scores fall below the global average of 55%.
All three APAC markets scored particularly poorly in representation, particularly for people with disabilities.
Australia’s scored 18%, Japan was 17%, and India was -4% for overall inclusion for disabled employees; once again, the scores were well below the global average and highlight the significant amount of work to be done in this area.
While Australian and Indian employees feel a strong sense of belonging in their workplaces 86% and 71%, respectively, compared with the global average of 69%, Japanese employees did not share the sentiment. Just 47% of Japanese employees feel a sense of belonging, 40% feel unsupported in skills and career advancement, and 60% believe senior management discriminates when it comes to hiring or promotions.
Despite the significant cultural differences between Australia, India and Japan, employees in three markets believe age discrimination is the most common form of discrimination in the workplace – 30% of employees in India, 17% in Australia and 15% in Japan.