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The biggest barriers to leadership advancement in Singapore

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Although scaling up the ranks might be aspirational for most, how attainable is it? A new survey by Ketchum finds 65% of Singaporeans concerned that disability can prevent them from reaching leadership positions.

The survey, conducted online with 3,001 respondents globally, including Singapore, found the following as the greatest three barriers Singaporeans perceive towards equal leadership opportunities:

1. Disability (65%)
2. Sexual orientation (53%)
3. Ethnicity (38%)

On the positive side, Singaporeans were least worried about being denied leadership opportunities owing to reasons of religion or its beliefs.

Furthermore, more than half (52%) of Singaporean respondents think that the most effective way to shatter the leadership glass ceiling is for employers to help citizens achieve leadership positions, without discriminating on gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, disability or religious beliefs.

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In addition to actions by employers, Singapore-based respondents also listed out the qualities they believe most important to be an effective leader:

  • Speaks in everyday language (87%)
  • Possesses real-world experience (84%)
  • Apologises for mistakes (78 percent).
  • Leads by example (68%)
  • Communicates in an open and transparent way (65%)
  • Handles mistakes and controversial issues calmly and confidently (61%).

Rod Cartwright, partner and director of Ketchum’s Global Corporate and Public Affairs Practice, commented: “This year’s results show unambiguously that business leaders have a huge opportunity to improve confidence levels by breaking through the multiple diversity barriers that still exist to equal leadership opportunity.”

Image: 123rf

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