More public service employees leaving their jobs; attrition ‘picked up’ in last 6 months: Chan Chun Sing
SINGAPORE: Singapore's public service has seen an increase in attrition "across the board", with the resignation rate for the largest generic scheme in the Civil Service - the management executive scheme - reaching a 10-year peak of 9.9 per cent last year, said Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Feb 15).
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Chan said attrition "has clearly picked up momentum in the last six months", with some segments such as infocomm technology experiencing "elevated competitive pressures" in the face of talent shortages and have resignation rates that are higher.
Mr Chan was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Patrick Tay (PAP-Pioneer) who had asked whether the public service was also seeing an increase in attrition amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Tay, who is the labour union leader, had also asked what was being done to look after the health and welfare of workers in the public service, and what was the Government doing to ensure that the compensation and benefits of public servants remained competitive.
"There are various factors contributing to attrition from the public service, including pressures of the job, pay and opportunities for professional development and progression," said Mr Chan.
"In particular, over the past two years, public officers have had to face intense pressure, working tirelessly to sustain the fight against COVID-19. At times, they also have to deal with anxious and even demanding members of the public in the course of their COVID-related work. The shift to remote work has also blurred the line between work and life."
He also pointed out that there is a risk of an increase in attrition from the public service as the economy recovers and job offers from the private sector increase.
Mr Chan noted that the public service will step up efforts to streamline processes and continue to provide "clarity of direction" in helping officers relate their work and contributions to the core purpose of serving Singapore and its citizens.
At the same time, it has also increased efforts to support and care for the health and mental well-being of public officers, he said. This includes the conducting of regular webinars on well-being-related topics, such as "resilience, mindfulness, nutrition and physical exercise".
Also introduced was a 24/7 counselling hotline as well as a digital platform to help public officers access mental health resources.
"We have also built up a community of over 900 wellness ambassadors from 80 agencies. These are public officers who have volunteered to be trained and provide basic emotional support to fellow colleagues and act as ambassadors for mental well-being," added Mr Chan.
There have also been moves to enhance the employee value proposition of a career in the public service, Mr Chan explained.
This is done by expanding job rotations and attachments outside the public sector in order to make work "more interesting and fulfilling" as officers get to experience and learn new things constantly.
Mr Chan said that the public service will continue to review salaries and benefits of public officers and adjust them where necessary to "keep pace" with the market.
"These periodic adjustments help to enable the public service to attract and retain its fair share of talent so that we can continue to deliver a high quality of service for Singaporeans," he added.