Image via fizkes/Shutterstock

Job security an increasing priority for job seekers in Singapore, according to JobStreet study

Job security (11.4%) has crept up to become one of the top considerations when seeking a new job or employer, following closely behind work-life balance (13.7%) and salary & compensation (16.6%).

The findings were revealed in JobStreet.com’s Laws of Attraction study, the largest recruitment survey done by the leading online employment marketplace.

According to the study, deciding factors that were once considered most important in evaluating a job offer, such as future prospects, employee benefits, management, and culture of the organisations are now becoming less important.

Growing Importance of Job Security Due to Sluggish Global Growth and Digital Disruption

Previous survey results showed career development as a key driver, with candidates expressing desire for job-related trainings and opportunities to upskill. However, such opportunities were largely dependent on organisations’ resources, or the lack thereof.

Survey results this time round has job security edging out career development to become one of the most important drivers of attraction that affects job-seeking decisions. Against the backdrop of global slowdown, coupled with the age of digitalisation and impetus for Singapore to evolve into a smart nation, local jobseekers are ever more concerned about their employability, even with the country’s low rate of unemployment.

“As the current global economic status remains uncertain, it is only natural for jobseekers to seek security when it comes to important issues like employment – and results from Laws of Attraction has shown this to be true,” said Ms Chew Siew Mee, Country Manager, JobStreet.com Singapore.

Across all industries, respondents in the study were shown to be keener on permanent roles, with about 33% reporting that they would decline a job offer if it was on a part-time or contract basis.

While the issue of job security cut across all generations, the survey showed that Gen X (12.6%) and Baby Boomers (12%) were most concerned, as compared to Gen Y (9.9%) and Gen Z (10.2%). What’s more, 44% of respondents, regardless of generation, stated that they would prefer to be employed by an established and financially secured company.

Similarly, the demand for job security cut across all job levels, with mid-level management being the most concerned. On the other hand, those in their first jobs are least concerned, as they have just kick-started their careers and are likely on the lookout for breadth of work experience.

What is Work-life Balance to the Local Jobseeker?

Over 50% of those surveyed believe that a five-day work week and being entitled to a sufficient number of paid holidays are essential to achieving that work-life balance. Shift work was also an unpopular choice, with 44% indicating they would not consider the job offer if irregular hours were a requirement. In the same line, males were more open to shift work opportunities as opposed to females.

Respondents also expressed their wish to have more control over their leave entitlements, preferring to work with a disperse-all annual leave distribution model rather than one that allows leave days to be earned as they worked. They also view 18 to 19 days of annual leave as most desirable.

Surprisingly, work-life balance was also found to be relatively important for respondents who held key appointments in their companies. 31% of them firmly believe in being compensated for overtime work, be it overtime pay or off in lieu.

“Senior management members are the ones who shoulder heavy job responsibilities and work around the clock, but this group of employees usually exempted from overtime compensation. What this survey has revealed is that companies must make sure to reward employees – no matter their job positions – for work done out of official hours. An occasional time off or flexibility to work from home can go a long way in showing the companies’ appreciation,” commented Ms Chew.

Besides that, jobseekers in the education & training and healthcare/medical sectors were also found to be more concerned over work-life balance. Coincidentally, these are the sectors that are set to expand, with statistics from the Ministry of Trade and Industry showing a 2.2% growth for the education, health and social services segment.

“As these industries grow, so will the need for manpower, and hiring managers in these industries will need to glean more details about candidates’ job preferences,” added Ms Chew.

Remuneration and Trade-offs

Not surprisingly, employees still see attractive salary packages as an important criterion when it comes to accepting new job offers. The survey found that many candidates expect a salary bump when changing roles.

Respondents working in retail and merchandise (26.6%); food and beverage/catering/restaurant (26.1%); and advertising/media/public relations (25.7%) industries expressed even higher expectations when it comes to salary increments.

However, this is not across the board. The survey found that Gen Z respondents (18- to 23-year-old) are willing to trade off salary and compensation for exciting career development opportunities, modern working environments and companies that are socially responsible.

Gen Z: Risk Takers who Welcome the Gig Economy for Greater Exposure

The survey results have shown that different demographics of the workforce have different job expectations, particularly the Gen Z. Most respondents in this age group are open towards the concept of the Gig Economy and are more receptive towards contract, part-time and project work when looking for a job, as compared to respondents of other generations.

In comparison, they are also more eager for overseas employment opportunities and training opportunities and drawn towards smart offices incorporated with the latest technology.

“Evidently, a one-size-fits-all HR strategy no longer works today. In order to attract and keep talents passionate and engaged, hirers must first be able to embrace the different behaviours and expectations of every candidate and derive HR strategies that align with their differing priorities,” noted Ms Chew.

Hence, in order to stand a better chance at engaging candidates or keeping existing employee passionate, hirers should not overlook other basic motivators such as career/development opportunities, quality of management and leadership, having respectful and collaborative co- workers and positive work cultures – factors that are consistently among the most important that jobseekers look out for.

For more details on JobStreet.com’s Laws of Attraction study, click here.