PETALING JAYA: The number of women in management positions in Malaysia in 2017 has fallen slightly from 2016 but it still remains top of a table that includes countries surveyed in the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide. The annual Hays Asia Salary Guide reveals women account for 35% of management roles in Malaysia with mainland China also reporting the same figure. Representing a two per cent loss from last year's figure, Malaysia is ahead of Hong Kong who are at 33%, Singapore 31% and Japan at 22%. "Malaysia continues to stand out when it comes to the diversity of its workforce in managerial positions and we applaud the high number of women in management roles. It can however do better as last year's figure indicates," says Tom Osborne, Regional Director of Hays in Malaysia. Hays is a leading recruiting expert in qualified, professional and skilled people. The Guide, now in its 10th year, highlights salary and recruiting trends across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, mainland China and Japan. The research is based on a survey covering 3,000 employers representing over six million employees. With diversity a huge topic right now, it was also revealed from countries surveyed that 52% of employers report having formal diversity policies and procedures in place, but only 18% say their organisation adheres to these regulations "well" and a further 36% only "fairly well". Mainland China's workforce is the least ethnically diverse with only six per cent of its workers hailing from another country compared to 12% of Hong Kong's workforce. Foreign workers comprise 11% of Malaysia's workforce and just nine per cent of Japan's workforce. In skill short areas, 59% of employers across all countries would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified candidate from overseas. This is a six per cent drop compared to last year's results, which could be indicative of tightening labour laws in the countries surveyed or it could signal the need for employers to do more to attract skilled foreign workers to their hard to fill roles. "Considering the challenges and opportunities expected this year, it is important employers in Malaysia have the widest talent pool to choose from when filling roles, especially those experiencing skills shortages," Osborne said. "To remain competitive in the ever changing and complex business environment, companies need to be able to bring in talent from overseas with ease when the right skill sets cannot be found locally." Due to changes of employment laws by governments in certain countries across Asia that support the recruitment of local candidates over foreign candidates, companies are now investing more in developing their current workforce with 36% of employers believing they do not have the talent needed to meet their current business objectives. The majority (53%) of employers have indicated that they have up-skilled their current workforce to counter areas of skills shortages while 39% have focused on improving their candidate attraction strategies.