Why It Matters

Firms in Singapore need to value talent

A survey finding that worker satisfaction here is steadily falling is disquieting to say the least - especially as Singapore has no natural resources and the biggest asset here is human talent.

Human resource consulting firm Mercer's survey released this week found employee engagement here has consistently declined over the past three years - in stark contrast with the global upward trend.

The results showed 73 per cent of the more than 42,000 employees polled here are satisfied with the firms they work for, compared with the global average of 82 per cent.

This was down from more than 76 per cent in 2014.

Experts say such feedback should set off alarm bells and does not bode well for Singapore, which is also facing an ageing population.

Dissatisfied employees can put a drag on overall morale and in some ways productivity.

Mercer's Singapore chief executive Kulshaan Singh highlighted reasons workers are unhappy here.

One key factor is "lower feelings of pride in and satisfaction with organisations".

He added: "Our analysis shows that such views are largely driven by the employees' concerns about innovation and career development."

Employers should take note of the results before employee engagement further declines.

Talking about investing in training workers is one thing but a personal investment in staff is needed, given 95 per cent said they want to be recognised and rewarded for a wider range of contributions.

Mr Singh said: "Engagement represents the best opportunity for Singapore to optimise the human capital it has."

He says it may seem obvious that the best way to optimise talent is to ensure engagement.

However, it is clear that organisations still need to close the gap between disillusioned employees and their work culture when it comes to reaching out to the workforce.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'Firms need to value talent'. Print Edition | Subscribe