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Temasek – Our People, Philosophy and Policy

What is Temasek about? It is about investing and building a better world, doing well, doing right, and doing good, not just for this, but also future generations.

The crux of this ambition is our people – their values, passions, capabilities, and their willingness to learn, lead and take on new ideas and responsibilities. This is how we shape Temasek, our reputation, and what we stand for. We do this for ourselves and our families, for our company, and ultimately for the larger community.

So how should we look at building our people and our team?

We have an open policy on building our team, regardless of the colour of our skin, or the colour of our passports. 

At the Board level, we have outstanding individuals from around the world, giving us their time and sharing with us their expertise and experience as our Board members. 

Among our workforce, our diversity spans 32 nationalities, across offices in 8 countries. Indeed, some of you may remember, we made an unsuccessful attempt to bring in a non Singaporean to be the CEO of Temasek some 10 years ago. The offer was made on the strength of what the Board believed he could have brought to the table, though he had to leave shortly after for other reasons. We continue to engage with him through these years, and indeed have had some co-investments together with him. 

Temasek has its roots in Singapore, where there is no place for xenophobia, racism, or hate speech. The very birth of Singapore as an independent nation was founded in the ideals of meritocracy, regardless of race, language or religion. What matters most to us in Temasek, are the values, the integrity, and the character and capability of our people.

Some of our colleagues from India have been targeted recently on social media by a divisive, racist campaign. This makes us very angry at the false claims perpetuated.The Singaporeans among us are also ashamed at such hateful behaviour on the Singapore social media. 

We stand by our colleagues who have been dragged into this through no fault of their own. 

We know that the social media can be a force for good or bad. We believe there is a role for constructive debate and fact-based opinions in our society, even on contentious or sensitive topics, and even on social media.That should be balanced with civility and respect for others. There is no place whatsoever for racism to feature in these debates. Insidious posts designed to stir hatred and intolerance have no place in our society, and we denounce them. 

We have referred these posts to Facebook as in clear breach of their own community guidelines on hate speech, and will continue to press them to be more active in stamping out such hate speech, wherever it occurs on their platforms.

In each of our offices, locals form the vast majority. This is no different in Singapore, where Singaporeans form the vast majority.  This is only natural and practical. 

Among our 600 strong staff at our headquarters in Singapore, 90% are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs). This is broadly the same among our senior leadership (Managing Directors and above). 

Globally, our nationality mix is about 60% Singaporeans and 40% other nationals, which includes about 10% Singapore PRs. Other than Singaporeans, the top 5 nationalities are China (9%), USA (7%), India (6%), UK (3%) and Malaysia (3%). This mix will continue to change as we work towards opening more offices in Asia, Europe and elsewhere. 

We encourage mobility as a way of developing our talent, both between functions and across geographies. We will continue to provide opportunities for our Singaporean colleagues to broaden their experiences and build their leadership capabilities globally, as we also do for our locally-engaged staff in our overseas offices by supporting relevant assignments for them to work in our Singapore headquarters or in our other offices.

As an active global investor, and a forward looking institution, it will be foolish of us not to tap on the global pool of talent. There is not only value in diversity, but the cross fertilisation of experiences and ideas across geographies, and the ability to connect the diverse dots, has become one of our key strengths. 

This interaction between all of us from diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences allows us to grow individually and collectively, as an institution, to bring value to our stakeholders. 

As we continue to transform and evolve as we have done through the years, and aim for a new Temasek 2030, we will continue to work hard to bring in fresh talents, while we encourage our existing staff to grow and develop to their fullest potential. 

We will continue to hire and develop our people, consistent with our MERITT values of Meritocracy, Excellence, Respect, Integrity, Teamwork and Trust. And even for those who leave us to take on other responsibilities outside Temasek, we hope they will carry with them the best of our Temasek DNA.

Social media involves people airing views different to ours: that’s their prerogative. However, all of us stand together as oneTemasek against views that seek to perpetrate division and disrupt the social cohesion that has taken many years for us to achieve here in Singapore.