HR urged to formalize hiring processes to fight racism

SINGAPORE: Work racism can be addressed if there is a structured hiring process that focuses on the abilities and skills of job applicants, said Faith Li, general manager at the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep).

During a panel discussion at the conference "Keeping Harmony@Work" at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Li emphasised that employers should formalise their human resource processes to fix subconscious ethnic biases that lead to racist and discriminatory recruitment practices. She added that employees must also feel safe when raising grievances on issues like racial discrimination.

Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon, who gave an opening address at the event, believes that laws are not enough to correct workplace discrimination. "We want to avoid creating a litigious culture and preserve the common space at the workplace while ensuring that discrimination in any form is not tolerated," he said.

"Therefore, tripartite partners will continue to prioritise engaging and educating employers to shape the right mindsets and practices, and resolving reported cases through mediation as far as possible," he furthered.

IPS principal research fellow Mathew Mathews presented IPS' insights into trends on race and perceptions of discrimination in Singapore. He explained that while most Singaporeans embrace tolerance and multiculturalism and only less than 10% of minorities believe they are treated unfairly by public services like hospitals or schools, racial discrimination remains a challenge in the workplace.

The conference, held by, attracted around 250 religious leaders, government officials, academics, and representatives from the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

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