Why are Singaporeans so unhappy with their employers?

Workers in Singapore are less satisfied than their international counterparts – what’s causing this trend?

Why are Singaporeans so unhappy with their employers?

According to a new report by global consulting leader Mercer, employee engagement in Singapore has declined consistently in the last three years. Today, only 73% of Singaporeans are satisfied with the companies they work for, compared to an 82% global average.

Additionally, less Singaporeans are less likely to endorse their firms as good places to work than the average worker in the APAC region.

“The decline is primarily due to the lower feelings of pride in and satisfaction with organizations,” said Kulshaan Singh, CEO of Mercer in Singapore. “Our analysis shows that such views are largely driven by the employees’ concerns about innovation and career development.”

Mercer, which was recently appointed to lead the research and development of Singapore’s HR skills framework, surveyed more than 42,000 employees in Singapore from various sectors. They measured pride, motivation, and commitment employees have toward their organisations – and the results were shocking.

The Mercer report found that one in five Singaporeans in the workforce say they are not receiving necessary feedback from their immediate managers to improve themselves. Even more worrying is that one in three feels that personal career goals are difficult to meet in their organization. With 95% of employees wanting to be recognized and rewarded for their contributions, these figures paint a sad picture for the Singaporean workforce.

This dissatisfaction doesn’t only stop at personal growth, but extends to employees’ perception of their organisations as a whole. While 85% of employees claimed they were proud of the products and services they currently offer, 30% say their organisations aren’t innovating these offerings. Worse, one in three employees feels that their firm doesn’t support the development of new ideas. In light of the national push toward innovating and revolutionising industrial sectors, this is cause for concern.

The report found that immediate managers can play a critical role here, as the first line of defense when it comes to managing these perceptions through engagement with their workers.

“Engagement represents the best opportunity for Singapore to optimize the human capital it has, Singh said. “If performance and productivity are a combination of individual talent and engagement, the best way to optimize talent is to ensure it’s engaged. Although this seems obvious, many organizations still struggle to build the work environment they need to fully realize engagement in the workplace.”


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