career progression opportunities important to singaporeans: randstad employer brand research 2018.
career progression opportunities important to singaporeans: randstad employer brand research 2018.
  • More than one-third of the respondents plan to change employer in the next 12 months, mainly due to a limited career path
  • 68 per cent of employees and job seekers in Singapore want ‘attractive salary and benefits’ and 64 per cent seek ‘work-life balance’ from an ideal employer
  • The three most popular and attractive sectors to work for in Singapore are hospitality and recreation services, transport and logistics, and information technology

Beyond ‘salary and benefits’, employees and job seekers in Singapore are looking for interesting ‘work-life balance’ initiatives and ‘career progression’ opportunities in an ideal employer. The latest research by Randstad Singapore suggests that employers should adopt a holistic approach towards talent attraction and retention to appeal to the local workforce.

Randstad – one of the world’s largest recruitment agencies – today released the findings of the annual Employer Brand Research in Singapore. Commissioned by Randstad and conducted independently, the global study is the most representative employer brand research that measures the perception of the market’s largest commercial employers (by workforce size) and unlocks the drivers of employee motivation.

Jaya Dass, Country Director at Randstad Singapore said, “As the economy continues to grow, employers may find it more and more difficult to attract and retain the right talent, particularly more so in a highly competitive market like Singapore. Furthermore, employees and job seekers are stepping up their efforts to upskill and re-skill through various learning and development programmes. A talent-short market combined with a competitive workforce means that only employers with a well-perceived employer brand have what it takes to appeal to today’s job seekers. It is therefore important that employers design and communicate their employer brand in a way that resonates with the workforce.”

what are employees and job seekers looking for in an ideal employer?

job aspirations change with age

According to the research, 68 per cent of the respondents said that ‘attractive salary and benefits’ is the number one must-have criteria of an ideal employer. This is closely followed by ‘work-life balance’ (64 per cent), which has seen a steady increase over the years from 2015 (54 per cent). Employees’ expectations around ‘career progression opportunities’ have also increased to 42 per cent (from 38 per cent in 2017).

employees expectations in singapore

A deep-dive into the results suggests that job aspirations change with age. Almost one in two respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said that ‘career progression opportunities’ is a must-have criteria in an employer (49 per cent), suggesting that they are more ambitious about their careers. However, only 36 per cent of respondents between 45 and 64 said that ‘career progression opportunities’ are important to them.

work-life balance is the most consistent must-have criteria

Across all ages, ‘work-life balance’ is the most consistent high-ranking criteria that employees and job seekers in Singapore seek in an ideal employer. ‘Work-life balance’ is determined as initiatives and policies introduced by the employer to help employees be healthier and more productive at work.

“Depending on their personal life and career aspirations, employees choose to take advantage of these initiatives and policies differently. For example, a young executive would value examination leaves and early-release on Fridays, but new parents may want to tap into the childcare benefits instead. We’ve seen companies in Singapore starting to introduce some very interesting initiatives such as extended paid paternity and well-being leave. With healthier and happier employees, productivity would naturally increase,” Jaya Dass added.

The study further suggests that employees are staying with their employers because of a combination of reasons, including work-life balance.

top five reasons why employees stay (62 per cent of all respondents)

  1. salary and benefits (55 per cent)
  2. work-life balance (53 per cent)
  3. job security (43 per cent)
  4. financial health (39 per cent)
  5. work atmosphere (38 per cent)

Women are more likely to stay with their employer because of good ‘work-life balance’ initiatives as compared to men (women – 57 per cent; men – 50 per cent). This suggests that women need support from their employers to achieve better work-life balance as they juggle between being a caregiver and an employee.

how can you retain talent?

transparent communications on career progression opportunities most important deciding factor for employees

The research also highlighted that out of the 38 per cent of employees who are thinking about leaving their employers in the next 12 months, almost one in two said that it is due to the lack of career progression opportunities.

Despite being the most important criteria that potential employees look for in an employer, only 38 per cent of the respondents cited insufficient compensation as the reason for wanting to leave their current company.

top five reasons why employees leave (38 per cent of all respondents)

  1. limited career path (49 per cent)
  2. inadequate compensation (38 per cent)
  3. insufficient challenges (31 per cent)
  4. lack of recognition or award (31 per cent)
  5. poor leadership (31 per cent)

The research also showed that younger employees are more likely to leave their jobs because of insufficient challenges. This further supports that younger employees are more ambitious about their careers and are likely to expect exciting job opportunities such as a chance to join a team working on a new project or work from an overseas office. On the other hand, mature workers are more likely to leave their employers because of poor leadership in the organisation.

The findings suggest that employers should look beyond providing a short-term fix and consider the respective employee value proposition drivers for the different demographics if they want to retain their employees.

adapt and upskill to stay employed

The research also highlights that the local workforce takes proactive actions to ensure their employability and competitiveness in the workforce. This is aligned with with the nation’s efforts to boost and deepen its workforce capabilities amid digital disruptions.

Six in 10 employees and job seekers are ‘open and flexible to change’ to stay employable, indicating that they are adaptable to changes in job responsibilities and are willing to embrace new technology that can help them be more productive. This is followed by upskilling (47 per cent) and socialising with their colleagues and peers (44 per cent) to gain more career opportunities. Only one in three would consider changing their careers to remain employable.

Business restructuring activities and digital disruptions have varying influences on both men and women. The research indicates that men are more ready to adopt the latest techniques and technologies to stay employable, while women place a greater focus on being adaptable to changes in the workplace.

how to stay employable

most popular and attractive sector to work for: hospitality and recreation services sector

Companies within the Hospitality and Recreation Services sector performed the best out of 17 sectors in Singapore. The average attractiveness score in this sector increased by two per cent to 52 per cent. This is well above the average of 42 per cent across all 75 commercial employers. Companies included in this sector are RC Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

The Transportation and Logistics sector came in second as the most popular and attractive sector for employees based in Singapore. Similar to the Hospitality and Recreation Services sector, the average attractiveness score has increased by two per cent to 45 per cent in 2018.

The average attractiveness score for both healthcare sectors (i.e. Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical) increased the most – by seven per cent each. The telecommunications and media sector recorded the highest awareness at 92 per cent but has one of the lowest attractiveness score of 35 per cent (no change from 2017). This means that the employers in this sector are widely recognised by the local workforce, but they are not perceived to be as desirable to work for as compared to companies in the other sectors. This indicates that employers within the telecommunications and media industry need to step up in their employer branding efforts to improve the sector’s attractiveness and ensure that they can still continue to attract and retain good talent.

The Employer Brand Research captured the views of 3,813 employees and job seekers in Singapore between the ages of 18 and 65. It provides insights into the perceptions and drivers of choice of employees and job seekers to inform employers of their human resources capital strategies. The Employer Brand Research is completed by Kantar TNS, a global insights and consultancy agency. Interviews were conducted online between November and December 2017 with controlled samples to ensure a nationally representative survey sample of the online population in each market (age and gender).

For more in-depth employer branding insights, request a complimentary copy of the Randstad Employer Brand Research 2018 Singapore report.

about randstad

The Randstad Group is a global leader in the HR services industry, with Asia-Pacific operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Our offices in Southeast Asia have been supporting people and organisations in realising their true potential, helping find the best permanent and contracting talent in accounting & finance, banking & financial services, construction, property & engineering, corporate & secretarial support, human resources, information technology, legal, life science, sales, marketing & communications and supply chain & procurement.

Human connection is at the heart of our business. Our personal approach, supported by state-of-the-art technology, is what sets us apart in the world of work. We express this with a new brand promise: Human Forward.

Hear what our leaders have to say about #HumanForward or head over to our new website and learn more about our Human Forward brand promise.

media contact

Rena Tan, Regional Marketing and Communications Director

Alistar Lien, Senior PR & Communications Specialist