Singapore workers are a pretty mirthless bunch, according to a recent Jobstreet survey, which found workers here to be the unhappiest out of seven Asian markets.
According to Jobstreet’s Happiness Index survey, Singaporean respondents averaged a 5.09 score out of the highest and happiest score of 10. Meanwhile, workers in Malaysia narrowly avoid last place of the happiness index with an average score of 5.22.
Given the current tumultuous economic environment and the fact that Singapore remains the world’s most expensive city to live in, these findings are hardly surprising. However, a lack of training and career development, and poor leadership were also identified as primary causes of employee unhappiness, the survey’s findings showed.
Here are five more miserable facts you didn’t know about Singapore’s unhappy workers:
1) They clock in more hours than anyone else in the world
Happy or not, Singapore has the longest working hours in the world. Statistics from the Ministry of Manpower show that Singapore workers clock in an average of 45.6 hours a week, or 9.12 hours daily over a five-day workweek.
This is compared to standard working hours worldwide of around 40 to 44 hours in a week. Elsewhere, folks in France clock in just about 35 hours in a week.
2) Money don’t always buy happiness for Singapore workers
According to Numbeo, workers in Singapore take home a disposable salary (net after tax) of S$4,174.80 (US$3059.69) a month.
This is compared to workers in Hong Kong, who take home a disposable salary of HK$20,902.80 (US$2695.26) a month, but rank slightly higher on the happiness index at a 5.56 rating. Meanwhile, Malaysian workers earn an average net salary of RM4,375.89 (US$1063.44) a month.
Elsewhere, workers in the Philippines – the happiest in the region – make just ₱24,457.59 (US$507.529) a month on average. These findings could perhaps be an indication that money can’t buy happiness after all. Or can it?
3) Fresh grads employees are the “happiest (but are still unhappier than most in the region)
Among the Singaporean respondents, fresh graduates are found to be the happiest employees in the local workforce. But at an average happiness rating of 5.3, they’re still a comparatively gloomy bunch compared to the rest of the region.
This could be due to the fact that many young graduates nowadays desire to be rid of the 9-to-5 office routine. Today, a growing number of graduates are embracing the culture of entrepreneurship and looking to start their own business, experts from universities and human resource firms say.
The good news is, between 2012 and 2015, Singapore moved up seven places to 10th in an international report that ranked start-up ecosystems. This goes to show that the city is now more conducive for start-ups than ever!
4) Top senior executives are the saddest employees
Top senior executives, or the C-suites, scored the lowest on the employee happiness index, averaging at a meagre 4.4.
This is despite the fact that Singapore has the highest base salaries at senior and top management level in the region, with pay levels around 10% higher than the next highest, Hong Kong, according to research by global professional services company Towers Watson.
However, much of the unhappiness of these high-level execs could stem from a lack of job security. Singapore’s economic slowdown has had many concerned about losing their jobs. In 2015, retrenchments climbed 20% to 15,580 and professionals, managers, executives and technicians made up over 70% of those made redundant.
5) Unhappy Singapore workers are bound to get even unhappier
Jobstreet’s survey found that on top of being the region’s unhappiest, Singapore employees were also the most pessimistic about their prospects in their current jobs. Sentiment ratings and future outlooks about their jobs saw an average rating of just 4.93.
Though of course, in this volatile economic times, there isn’t much to smile about. Statistics from the Ministry of Manpower showed that overall unemployment rose from 1.9% in March 2016 to 2.1% in June 2016.
The number of job seekers is also outnumbering vacancies by 100 to 93 for the first time in four years, said Jobstreet’s Singapore country manager Chook Yuh Yng.
“On the other end of the spectrum, the happiest employees in the Philippines are enjoying stronger economic and job growth,” she added.
So what do Singapore employees want?
Believe it or not, it’s not always about money. Convenient work location, having good colleagues and company reputation were cited as key factors underpinning job happiness by survey respondents.
They also recommended switching jobs (30%), salary increment (19%) and receiving recognition from one’s company (9%) as ways to increase job happiness.
Alternatively, unhappy Singapore employees can also look into starting a career in sciences, hotels and restaurants, or admin/human resources, as folks in these sectors were found to be the happiest.