Majority of Singaporeans do not understand the gender pay gap

Kim HoPR Manager
November 20, 2019, 7:41 AM GMT+0

Men and women have differing views on closing the gap

A study by jobs website Glassdoor in 2018 has found that Singaporean women earn about 13 percent less than men. Latest YouGov research finds out what Singaporeans understand about the gender pay gap, and what they think about it.

Although seven in ten (71%) of Singaporeans claim to have some understanding of the term gender pay gap, the majority (72%) were unable to correctly identify the definition of it – that is, a gender being paid less on average than another as a whole. Only three in ten (28%) were able to select this definition. Six in ten (62%) thought the term meant a gender being paid less than another gender for doing the same job. The remaining one in ten (10%) didn’t know altogether.

Two in five (43%) Singaporeans believe that women are paid less than men as a whole. Women are more likely to believe this than men (55% vs. 30%). Less than two in five (38%) believe that no gender pay gap exists, and that both genders are equally paid. Men are more likely to think this true than women (47% vs. 29%). While a small percentage (7%) think that men are paid less than women, this is predominantly believed by men (13% vs. 1%).

Although three in five (59%) agree that a gender pay gap is unfair, this view again, differs depending on gender. Seven in ten (69%) women find it unfair, compared to half (49%) of men. Conversely, one in ten (9%) think a gender pay gap is fair, with men three times more likely to think so than women (14% vs. 5%). The remaining three in ten (32%) Singaporeans are undecided.

Looking at the contributing reasons for a gender pay gap, Singaporeans identified unconscious bias (47%) and fewer leadership positions offered to a particular gender (47%) as the top factors. This is followed by reasons such as a particular gender not being paid as much (25%), a particular gender working fewer hours than another gender (20%), a particular gender being less educated than another gender (17%) and a particular gender is not working as hard as another gender (15%). Women are more likely to think a gender pay gap is due to unconscious bias (52%), while men are more likely to believe this is because a particular gender not working as hard as another gender (19% vs. 11%).

Overall, most (68%) can agree that it is important to close the gender pay gap. Three in five (61%) agree that legislation should be put in place to prevent a gender pay gap from occurring.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov commented: “When it comes to discussion about fair employment practices, the topic of gender pay gap often crops up. While studies have proven a gender pay gap exists in Singapore, it appears that not too many understand what this means. What is clear though is the difference in views between men and women about the topic, with women finding the issue more unjust and more pressing.”

***Results based on 1,038 Singaporeans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus