Will 2022 be Singapore’s “Great Resignation” year? Here’s what the survey results say…

The Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI), an Ontario-based institute that specializes in organizational research, surveyed a selection of, 5500 respondents on job retention from December 2021 to January 2022. Five hundred people among those surveyed are employees in Singapore.

According to their fifth annual Employee Engagement & Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI), there’s a high level of workplace dissatisfaction in many places around the world, including Singapore.

This has been observed by many Western media, which dubbed 2021 as the “Great Resignation” year, with employees leaving their jobs in high numbers since the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

The study found that 49 per cent of respondents all over the world looked for new jobs during the pandemic, and only 23 per cent said they feel a strong sense of belonging.

In Singapore, the numbers are somewhat similar, with 47 per cent of respondents saying they’ve job hunted since the onset of Covid-19, and only 16 per cent feel that they have a strong sense of belonging.

Moreover, only 15 per cent of respondents in Singapore say they are “very engaged” with their current job, as opposed to the global average of 20 per cent.

When asked for the number one reason why they would leave their jobs, the employees in Singapore cited career progression.

When asked for the top reason for staying in their current position, those surveyed in Singapore said, “I am recognized for my work.”

And when asked outright if they would look for a new job this year, 45 per cent of the respondents in Singapore said yes, in comparison to the 41 per cent average globally.

Twenty-eight per cent said no, they would stay in their jobs, against the 34 per cent average of international respondents.

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Furthermore, 27 per cent of respondents in Singapore said they were undecided, only slightly higher than those surveyed from other countries (25 per cent).

However, whether this translates to an actual uptick in resignations remains to be seen.

Last month, the Ministry of Manpower said that Singapore’s resignation rates are at pre-COVID levels.

“Reports of high resignation rates across the United States and Europe have led to speculation that Singapore could see a similar ‘Great Resignation’ wave. However, our statistics show otherwise,” MOM wrote in a Jan 31 Facebook post.

MOM said that resignation rates in Singapore have “remained consistently low throughout the pandemic.”

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The ministry added that for the third quarter of 2021, the resignation rate was at 1.6 per cent. 

“This figure is also below pre-COVID levels (the quarterly average in 2018 – 2019 was 1.8%). This shows that the pandemic has not led to a significant increase in resignations.”

The ministry warned, however, that “as the economy recovers, some increase in labour turnover is expected,” explaining further that for low-wage sectors, workers could exchange their jobs for better opportunities, and that for growth sectors with strong labour demand, higher rates for recruitment and resignation are to be expected.

Nevertheless, in order to avoid an exodus of employees, AWI recommended a three-step cycle (Ask, Answer, and Act) for gathering and responding to feedback to help employers meet their employees’ needs:

  1. Regularly ask employees for feedback.
  2. Although not all feedback can be acted upon. Employers can still answer the employees’ feedback by reflecting, then acknowledging them. The goal here is to make the employees feel heard.
  3. Wherever possible, act on the feedback, even on a small scale level. This would help the employees feel the difference immediately and directly.

AWI ended their report with a piece of advice for organizations, “The key to retention is having a strong culture of belonging, built on a foundation of communication, employee input, and connection.” /TISG


No ‘Great Resignation’ — MOM says SG’s resignation rates actually at pre-COVID levels

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