Earlier this year, a report Q1 report by PERSOLKELLY revealed 96% of Singapore-based hiring managers and employees surveyed agree there are benefits of working with colleagues aged 55 years and up. The report also found that employees and hiring managers in Asia Pacific (APAC) see value also in employing or working with people with disabilities/special needs, and returning mothers.

Today, the company has released its latest 2019 H1 APAC Workforce Insights report which revealed that despite this, most APAC organisations are still not full preparing their staff for a more inclusive work environment.

This is due to a lack of soft skills training or flexible working policies, which were seen as two key practices that can indeed help dispel current misconceptions about working with these employees.

For instance, despite diversity and inclusion training being an increasingly important aspect of skills training today, just 16% of respondents in the region have access to it at work.

Of those who do have access to it, 77% expressed satisfaction with their current companies. On the other hand, 56% of those without access were still satisfied with their companies.

Speaking about the need for organisations to drive more inclusive practices, Jessica Ang, Regional Head of Corporate Brand Marketing, APAC, PERSOLKELLY said: "Organisations are facing different sets of challenges when it comes to driving workforce integration.

"To prepare for the transforming workforce and truly impact change, business leaders must engage with their employees to overcome challenges and champion an inclusive workforce."

Concerns about hiring mature workers, people with disabilities/special needs, returning mothers

Some of the concerns raised about hiring mature workers and people with disabilities/special needs included the need for flexibility, ability to adapt to change as well as physical capabilities.

As for returning mothers, top concerns included their perceived lack of availability and focus.

Despite these concerns, 95% of respondents in the region still see benefits of hiring and working with mature workers, while 83% see benefits in having people with disabilities/special needs. At the same time, returning mothers are nonetheless appreciated for their ability to multi-task and focus.

Ang added: "It is evident that there are many benefits to having an inclusive workforce. To promote and manage a more inclusive workforce, businesses need to equip their employees with the right set of skills. Trainings such as soft skills development and flexible and family-friendly work arrangements will also benefit organisations as they can improve employee satisfaction and retention.

"In addition, such offerings can enable mature workers, people with disabilities or special needs, and returning mothers fulfil their potential at work."

Photo / provided