How Do You Feel about Your Job?

Happiness is subjective. What makes a person happy may not be the same for another. But what do most Singaporean workers look for in their careers? Is money the only thing that matters?

In a recent survey done by, 45 per cent of Singaporeans reported being unhappy at work. The survey polled some 700 workers from July to August last year.

They are mainly executive-level employees or job seekers from various industries such as manufacturing and production, banking and financial services, the civil service and hospitality.

We dive in on the four key areas.

Lack of Training and Career Development

According to the survey, the top three job unhappiness factors among Singaporean workers were issues with the management and leadership team, a lack of opportunities for career development and training opportunities. Singapore Country Manager Chew Siew Mee said: “When their career trajectories stagnate, employees do not derive any form of satisfaction and may begin to resent their jobs. To retain outstanding performers, there is a need to give them new challenges and more high-level responsibilities so that they can grow their skillsets.”

Workers also tended to stay in the same position longer. Employers can consider expanding workers’ responsibilities or move them across different functions to upgrade and build multi-functional skills, which will help to improve their work happiness and productivity level.

Do Long-distance Relationships Work?

Distance matters, not just in a relationship but also where your work is located. Fifty-five of the 100 Singaporeans surveyed said that work location was the most important factor for job happiness, with good colleagues and company reputation taking second and third place.

Ms Chew said: “Singapore has an extensive network of public transport, which makes commuting easy for employees. Our survey found that 47.22 per cent of the respondents are happy because of the ease of commute. However, the long travel time from home to workplace has led to unhappiness in 26.32 per cent of the respondents. For employers planning their talent retention strategies, reviewing their policies on transport subsidies could help boost workplace morale.”

Size Does Matter

Employees working in larger companies are found happier. This may be because larger companies operate in a more defined organisational structure with various departments, which provide employees with the option to explore other job scopes without leaving the company.

Larger companies also have the resources to enrol their employees in training courses, which ensures long-term professional development. 

Bend or Break?

Millennials (36 per cent) are generally happier than non-millennials (30 per cent). While both groups value convenient access to work location, millennials care most about flexibility. Therefore, employers can consider offering incentives such flexible work arrangements and telecommuting policies to attract “high-calibre” millennials.

Share this story: