Singaporean workforce unhappiest in the world, global study finds

Photo of office worker comforting her colleague. Stressed man in white shirt keeping hand on head while sitting at the wooden working desk over comfortable office as background.

The Singaporean workforce is the unhappiest, a recent global study from Employment Hero found. 

The company’s 2021 global report on The Impact of COVID-19 on Business Owners And Employees was based on an analysis of over 1,000 Singapore employees and employers.  Conducted in May 2021, the survey aimed to better understand the impact of COVID-19  across the globe and the unique challenges employees and employers faced in the past six months.

According to the survey, 48% of employees stated they are unhappy in the workplace and would not recommend it as a place to work. With these findings, Singapore ranks ahead of Malaysia  (42%), New Zealand (41%) and Australia (40%), and ties with the UK for the least happy workforce.

But it’s not all bad news for the Little Red Dot, which is increasingly shining the spotlight on mental health. Of all the countries surveyed, Singaporeans showed a high level of concern for their mental health, with more than half (52%) rating it over career satisfaction (35%). 

However, there’s a significant mismatch between the rising demand for mental health support and what is currently offered by employers. In Singapore, some 68% of employers said they are supportive of measuring employees’ mental health—but only 41% of employees agree with that. On the topic of measurement, 62% of employers said they have the tools to measure mental health issues at the workplace, but only 39% of employees agreed.

When Singaporean employees were asked what employers could do to support their mental health, 69% identified a healthy work-life balance as their preferred initiative, followed by increased health and wellness benefits (58%) and company-provided counselling services (43%).

“Companies who intend to continue working remotely or flexibly post-Covid will need to make work-life balance, mental health and overall employee wellness initiatives a priority in the organisation. Lack of clear structures, workflows and open communications across the organisation is adding unnecessary stress and strain on employees that are already struggling to cope with general pandemic-related anxiety,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Employment Hero. 

“We can see that employees who were working remotely pre-pandemic are faring much better due to the right design and execution of remote working structures. With remote working still very much a necessity in this part of the world – and possibly the future – employers must take action and put the right guidelines and communications channels in place to ensure their employees’ well-being” Thompson added. Fortunately, looking ahead, 50% of Singaporean employers stated that mental health will be a focus for their organisations in 2021.

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