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2 in 5 workers in Singapore will not accept a job if unable to work remotely or have flexible work hours: Survey

Only 52 per cent of respondents said their employers provided them remote working options.

2 in 5 workers in Singapore will not accept a job if unable to work remotely or have flexible work hours: Survey

People wearing protective face masks in the Central Business District in Singapore on Mar 25, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: About two in five workers in Singapore said in a survey that they would not accept a job if they are unable to work from home or if the job does not afford flexible work hours.

The bi-annual survey conducted by Randstad, a human resources solutions agency, involved 1,000 locally-based respondents aged between 18 and 67 years old and was conducted between February to March this year.

In the results released on Monday (Aug 15), 42 per cent of respondents indicated that they would not accept a job if they are unable to work from home, with more than three in four (77 per cent) respondents saying they value the importance of remote work.

Only 52 per cent reported that their employers provided them remote working options.

The Randstad survey also found that 41 per cent of respondents said that they would not accept a job if they did not have flexible work hours.

Flexible work hours was seen as an important criteria by 80 per cent of respondents, with only 60 per cent saying that their jobs provided them with this option.

Additionally, 27 per cent of respondents said that they have quit a job because it did not provide enough flexibility in terms of working hours and location.

In April, tripartite partners in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) encouraged employers to permanently offer flexible work arrangements.

They noted that flexible work arrangements have strengthened the resilience of workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that globally, employers increasingly embrace such arrangements as part of the future of work.

In the same month, a study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) found that a sizeable proportion of employees in Singapore prefer to retain flexible work arrangements rather than work from the office or from home on most days.

Ms Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore and Malaysia said: “Even though flexible working arrangements are important to employees in Singapore, not all companies are seen to be offering it as an option after the pandemic. As such, employees who value the flexibility to decide when and where they want to work may seek to work for other employers that offer these options."

Ms Dass added that in addition to offering flexible work arrangements, "companies should reconsider the purpose of the office as a collaborative space that fills up the communicative gaps of remote work, rather than resign to closed-off work cubicles."


The survey found that 41 per cent of Singaporean respondents would rather be unemployed than feel unhappy in a job. This was higher than the global average of 33 per cent, said Randstad.

A high proportion of those surveyed, 94 per cent of respondents, maintained that work-life balance is important.

More than half, 52 per cent, also said that they would quit their jobs if it prevented them from enjoying life.

Respondents between the ages of 18 and 24, and 25 and 34 echoed the findings, with 56 per cent and 57 per cent saying that they would leave their jobs if they could not enjoy life.

This was in contrast to respondents aged between 45 and 54, with only 45 per cent feeling this way. 

Ms Dass said that, "Mature workers may have higher financial responsibilities, a more established career, and are thus less likely to risk their job security to change employers."

She added that younger employees are reforming their definition of success, which is reflected in their willingness to explore job switches to find the organisational structures and culture that best match their aspirations and lifestyles.


Nearly half of the group of respondents between 45 and 54 years old reported that they would not mind earning a lower salary if they felt that their job contributed to society, with 47 per cent feeling this way.

The proportion found in this age group was the largest compared to those between 18 to 24 (38 per cent), 25 to 34 (46 per cent) and 35 to 44 (39 per cent).

Ms Dass said: "As more people become aware of their impact on the environment and society, employers need to start actively engaging with their employees to address societal issues and create a more meaningful work purpose for them."

The survey also found that 43 per cent of respondents would not accept a job with a business that does not align with their values on social and environmental issues, and if the company was not making a proactive effort to improve diversity and equity.

Source: CNA/fh(ta)


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