Study: Malaysian workers feel more discriminated than their Asian peers

63% of Malaysian workers say they feel excluded from participating at their workplace, according to an employment diversity survey. (File pic)

PETALING JAYA: A new study on diversity in employment has revealed that discrimination is still a major issue in Malaysian workplace, with workers feeling excluded at work and worried over their job prospects.

Recruitment firm Hays Asia in its report on diversity and inclusion found that 63% of Malaysian respondents had at some point felt excluded from participating at their workplace due to discrimination, with 51% saying they had experienced it in the past year.

The study, which was conducted among over 2,000 working professionals across Asia between April and May last year, said 28% of Malaysian respondents believed they were excluded from participation at work or faced a lack of respect due to their ethnicity.

The study said the figure is well above the Asia average of 17%.

Meanwhile, 51% said discrimination had lowered their chances of getting hired for a job, with one-third of them saying it had happened to them in the past year.

A quarter of respondents said they were discriminated racially, 10% higher than the average number of people to say so across Asia.

“In the case of career opportunities, 31% felt there was an inequality due to ethnicity, a figure that has risen from 13% in 2017 and 19% in 2018; making it the highest in Asia alongside Japan,” the report said.

Discrimination is also cited as a factor in salary and rewards by 29% of Malaysian employees surveyed.

This is an increase over the past two years by 19% and 23%, respectively.

The report noted that gender equality has improved in Malaysia in terms of wages and career advancement opportunities, but said gender diversity remained a major concern.

It said the number of women in managerial positions dropped to 40% from 46% last year.

“Although this is the second-highest level across Asia, it is still a slide that should ring alarm bells.

“This is especially since 60% believed gender diversity and inclusion could have the most positive impact on organisation leadership, as compared to the Asian average of 44%.”