Singapore workers Asia's unhappiest and most want to quit jobs: survey

Staff in city state are unhappiest in Asia, with a quarter feeling 'unmotivated and under-used'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 11:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 11:26pm

Workers in wealthy Singapore are the unhappiest in Asia and nearly two-thirds would like to quit their jobs in the next year, a regional survey by recruiting firm Randstad Group showed yesterday.

Singapore may be a banking and trade centre with world-class amenities and high per capita income, but it has seen unprecedented public discontent over the rising cost of living and competition from foreign workers.

Randstad's World of Work Report showed 23 per cent of Singaporean workers felt unmotivated and that their skills were not being used effectively, while 64 per cent planned to leave their jobs in the next 12 months.

There is no magic equation for retaining staff, but career opportunities are a great start

The top reasons were an unsuitable corporate culture, difficult bosses and being asked to do more with less. Hong Kong workers were second only to Singapore in terms of their lack of motivation (22 per cent). Indian workers were the happiest in Asia, with about 70 per cent feeling challenged, motivated and mentored, said the survey of 14,000 employers and professionals in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, mainland China, India, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

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

But 55 per cent of employers acknowledged their performance in creating flexible working options was average or poor. At 71 per cent, 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 retaining staff, but having career development opportunities readily available is a great start," said Michael Smith, the director of Randstad Singapore.

About 59 per cent of Singaporeans had a pay rise in the last year and 67 per cent expected a rise of at least 5 per cent in the next year.

Singapore's government, its popular vote hit in elections by the public anger, has sought to rein in living costs and tighten the labour market for foreigners.

The steps include raising the minimum salary for foreigners seeking an employment pass to S$3,300 (HK$20,000) per month and obliging employers to advertise job vacancies to Singaporeans for 14 days before an overseas worker can be hired.