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Daily Dispatches – Lack of women on boards is bad for Singapore’s reputation

Magnus Bocker, chief executive of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), says he finds the lack of gender diversity on boards here “appalling”, according to a report in the Business Times.

Bocker was quoted as saying that he was shocked at the numbers, and added that he believed “there’s actually a reputational risk to Singapore in having the board structure we have; I think (only) 7% to 8% of the boards right now have female (representation)”.

But he also said he was not in favour of quotas to increase the level of diversity. He acknowledged that the low proportion of women directors on boards had to do with the fact that a lot of the companies in Singapore were young and were first and second-generation companies.

When being highly educated is not always a good thing

The Financial Times reports that South Korea is top of the league table when it comes to producing too many over-educated workers. The number of college graduates in excess of the job market’s demand is estimated at about 50,000 a year, compared with an annual supply shortfall of more than 30,000 high school graduates, according to the labour ministry.

“Over-education has led to a decline in labour utilisation, thus weighing on economic growth,” says Eom Dong-wook at the Samsung Economic Research Institute, estimating that more than 40% of the country’s college graduates are overeducated. This has led to the contribution of labour input to GDP growth being negative since 2009.

Looming US debt default worrying China

Bloomberg reports that Premier Li Keqiang said China is paying “great attention” to the US debt-ceiling issue, adding his voice to official concern that wrangling over a borrowing limit risks a default in the world’s biggest economy.

China is the biggest foreign holder of US. Treasuries at US$1.28 trillion in July

Rosy jobs numbers from Australia

Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in September, adding to evidence a two-year interest rate cutting cycle is boosting demand, according to a Bloomberg report

The jobless rate dropped to 5.6% from 5.8%That compares with the median estimate for unemployment to hold steady in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists. The number of people employed advanced by 9,100.

The biggest challenge facing employers in Asia

China Daily reports that Cindy Chen, regional head in Northeast Asia of Adecco Group says that retaining talent is the biggest headache for multinational companies operating in Asia and China.

She says the problem is that good talent in some markets is in great demand and employers compete with each other for it. As a result, bidding prices have soared and it’s getting increasingly hard for the original employers to keep the talent.

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