Do staff actually want longer working hours?

A new study delves into whether employees value money over flexibility in the workplace

Despite a push towards better work-life balance through employer initiatives such as flexi work arrangements, one study has found that many Singaporeans are actually happy to sacrifice this for longer hours and higher pay.
According to Randstad Award 2016 research, 47% of all local staff work overtime. This is in spite of the Ministry of Manpower’s recommended limit of 44 hours per week.
Fifty-two per cent of males worked more than the suggested 44 hours while 41% of females did the same.
In general, Singaporean workers seemed to be happy with these longer work schedules, the report said, with only 7% wanting to work fewer hours. Forty-seven per cent felt satisfied with their current weekly hours.
The study found that 50% of men and 42% of women actually want to work longer hours for more or equal pay – a fact which HR may put into good use.
Of course, HR should be aware that longer working hours will in general equate to higher wages, according to the Randstad study. Eighty per cent of Singaporean respondents pointed to higher wages as a major factor when working more.
In some situations however, individuals may be willing to do the extra hours for other non-monetary means. For instance, the research found that 41% of Singaporeans were willing to work longer for goals such as career progression. Additionally, 33% were happy to work overtime for their own personal development.
Despite this willingness to stay in the office longer, work-life balance remains an important factor for job candidates when choosing an employer. In 2016, work-life balance took second spot behind salary and employee benefits in the Randstad Award Top 10 Attractiveness Factors.

“It’s interesting to see that despite the growing importance of work-life balance, Singaporeans are still willing to sacrifice it for better pay and career progression,” Jaya Dass, country director of Randstad Singapore, said.
“This could be representative of the current uncertain economic environment leading to employees wanting to work even harder than before. I expect to see the willingness to work overtime diminish in the longer term with a more bullish global and local economy.”
Related stories:
Revealed: Singapore industries who pay the most overtime
Preventing fatigue-based workplace disasters
100 per cent of HR pros would consider six-hour work day

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