Singapore workers most unhappy in Asia: Randstad

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Even as their prime minister posted on Facebook that Singaporeans “can all enjoy and take pride in Marina Bay … [as it] epitomises our progress and growth, and the possibilities for our future,” workers in Singapore have been found to be the most unhappy in Asia.

In its latest survey, the World of Work report by recruiting firm Randstad Group found that 23 per cent of all Singaporean workers felt unmotivated and that their skills were not being used effectively, while 64 per cent said they planned to quit their jobs in the next year.

The main reasons for their unhappiness were an unsuitable corporate culture, demanding bosses and being asked to do more with less.

“Singaporean employees are also placing increasing importance on achieving a work-life balance,” Asia New Net reported. “But more than half of the employers surveyed admitted their organisation’s performance in creating flexible work options – such as variable work hours, job-sharing or working from home – is average or poor.”

Michael Smith, country director of Randstad Singapore, said the findings show “employee engagement in Singapore has declined over the last 12 months, as cost-conscious employers cut back on company events and forums”.

Reuters reports that:

Singaporeans were now putting more emphasis on work/life balance, as shown by the 50 percent who ranked it as one of the main reasons to stay with a company, up from 15 percent in a 2012 survey.

But 55 percent of employers acknowledged their performance in creating flexible working options was average or poor. At 71 percent, the majority of employers also said that managing a workforce of various ages was one of the biggest challenges.

“There is no magic equation for retention but having career development opportunities readily available is a great start,” Michael Smith, the country director of Randstad Singapore, said in a statement.

The Randstad report also said that “job satisfaction is lowest in the booming finance and business hubs Hong Kong and Singapore, where skilled talent is in short supply and the demands placed on employees are particularly high.” (CNBC)

The survey polled over 14,000 professionals across Asia Pacific aged 18-65.

Singapore’s 23 per cent is a notch higher than Hong Kong’s 22 per cent.

At the other end of the spectrum, India has the happiest workers. Almost 70 percent of India’s employees are very happy in the current jobs, compared with 17 percent in Singapore.

“Indian professionals appear to be riding a wave of optimism, reflecting how far the nation has come as a global leader in the online business, software and services boom, and the positive outlook for India’s future as millions of people climb out of poverty through access to work,” Randstad said.

Randstad’s survey results seem to contradict one conducted by Singapore Press Holdings last year.

SPH

That survey, conducted in May 2013, involved 1,003 workers aged 15 to 59, and was commissioned by Cats Recruit, a Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) unit.

A news report by the Straits Times, which is a unit of SPH, about that survey, said:

“[More]  than 70 per cent of the respondents said they are happy with their working hours and workload, as well as their career prospects and development.

“Findings also indicate respondents are likely to stay in their jobs for five more years on average.”

[Read that report here: "More than 7 in 10 S’pore workers happy: Survey”]

On a more certain note, workers can expect a 4 per cent increase in pay this year, according to analysts and the national union, the NTUC.