Singapore's Great Resignation

Young millennials lead Singapore’s great resignation

More than half of Singaporean workers (59%) are planning to look for a new job within the next 12 months, with 43% of them planning a jump in the next six months, and 16% already on the hunt. 

The top reason employees want to leave an organisation is a lack of career opportunities (38%), followed closely with lack of a pay rise (34%). For many staff, the memories of financial disruption during the pandemic are still fresh – more than three quarters of employees (77%) who received a pay cut during the pandemic will be looking for a new role, whether or not their pay was reinstated. 

Employment Hero’s research, which polled 1,005 Singapore employees for the Employee Movement and Retention Report, found other reasons talent want to shift include a lack of appreciation or recognition (30%), poor company culture (23%), feeling overworked (23%), lack of training opportunities (19%), lack of flexibility (18%), and a poor working relationship with their boss (15%).

The research also discovered that younger workers are leading the employee exodus, with 71% of Millennial employees aged 25-34 signalling they will be looking for a new role in the coming year. Half of those in this age group have already spoken to a recruiter or hiring manager.  

Among those who say they are not looking to change jobs, 33% said it was because they felt it was too risky to change jobs due to the uncertainty from the pandemic. But as lockdown restrictions continue to lift over the next few months, there is a risk they will join the pool of job seekers.

Business leaders have undergone a challenging task during the pandemic, and unfortunately many relationships between employees and their managers have strained under pressure. While only 15% of respondents overall selected their boss as a reason for leaving, women were 39% more likely to select this option. One fifth of employees in large businesses (with over 200 staff) also cited their boss as a reason for leaving.

Even though Singapore is considered an international business hub, many Singaporean workers are considering looking overseas for job opportunities. More than half (55%) of workers are considering or will consider moving internationally for work. Motivations for moving overseas include getting access to better job prospects (50%), having the chance to travel (49%) and the possibility of better pay (43%).

When asked what initiatives would encourage them to stay in their current role, more than half of employees (54%) said they wanted a salary increase, while 29% would like a promotion. Other reasons include having more rewards and recognition (29%), introduction of a bonus structure (28%), more flexible working options (28%) and more training and career development (23%). 

“Employees have worked hard throughout the pandemic and experienced the same stress, unease and uncertainty as business owners. The pandemic has also created a shift in thinking, with employees asking themselves, ‘Do we live to work? Do we want to go to the office every day? Do we feel appreciated for our hard work and loyalty? Would we be happier elsewhere?’” said Ben Thompson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Employment Hero. 

“In this candidate-driven market, employers need to pivot their thinking to be people-first. The good news is that you can do this at a reasonable cost. For instance, employers can spend time setting up a career development pathway for staff, invest in employees by offering training or an internal mentorship, giving staff extra leave days, or by offering staff flexible and remote working arrangements,” Thompson added.

“The better the business retention strategy, the stronger their employee value proposition will be, and the easier it will be for businesses to secure great talent. The more businesses invest in their employees, the more they invest in the long-term success of the business,” he added.  

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