Employees have spoken and the top organisations to work for in Singapore have emerged.
Singapore's Best Employers 2020, a ranking of the 150 most attractive firms and institutions, was released today based on the results of a new survey by The Straits Times and global research company Statista.
Retailers Uniqlo and Adidas Singapore came in first and second respectively, followed by technology giants Google and Amazon. Oil and gas company BP rounds up the top five.
More than 8,000 people responded to the online survey conducted in August and September last year, whittling down a long list of 1,800 companies and institutions across 25 industries.
Employers with at least 200 employees were considered. They were given a score based primarily on whether the staff would recommend the company to a friend or family member.
Mr Warren Fernandez, The Straits Times editor and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/ Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: "The job market might look very uncertain right now and any job or employer might seem like a good one.
"But this crisis too will pass, and people will want to know who best to work for, in good times and bad. We figured that the best source for views on this was none other than workers and employees themselves, which is why we have tied up with our partners Statista to put together this guide, which we think will be most useful to all workers and job seekers among our readers."
Statista has conducted similar employer surveys in countries such as the United States and Germany. This is its first in Asia.
Dr Thomas Clark, a partner at Statista, said that since the inaugural survey here took place last year before the Covid-19 outbreak began, it shows which employers fared extraordinarily well in normal times.
"Obviously, we all know that we are currently far away from anything that's normal and this has huge repercussions for the workplace. Thus, I am really curious to see next year's ranking where we can find out which employers showed the most leadership, stamina and flexibility in times never seen before," he said.
The survey found that employee satisfaction was the highest in the IT, restaurant and healthcare industries.
Statista's lead analyst Niklas Tamm, who is responsible for Statista's employer quality studies worldwide, said that workers in the IT, Internet, software and service sector rated their employers highly in areas such as having the same advancement opportunities for men and women, and having high standards of working conditions.
For those working in the restaurant sector, factors highly rated included teamwork among colleagues and being proud of the products their companies offer, he said.
In the healthcare equipment and service sector, employees were very satisfied with their workstations as well as with being able to organise their own work, among other things.
Some of the good practices at firms on Singapore's Best Employers 2020 list include how government e-solutions provider CrimsonLogic's chief executive Saw Ken Wye frequently met employees for small group coffee sessions. With staff now working from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, he joins in for virtual team meetings instead.
At IT company Optimum Solutions, staff receive free credits for online learning platforms and can also ask for career counselling.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical firm Novartis said it tries to create an "unbossed" culture in which leaders are encouraged to serve their teams, remove obstacles, and empower people to attain their personal and professional ambitions.
Although most employers are now struggling just to stay afloat, Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem noted that those who have invested in their staff will be the ones to emerge stronger after the Covid-19 period.
It is especially important to build strong relationships with employees beyond just the monthly pay package, and provide a strong value proposition of the meaning of the work that they do, she said.
"Employees remember how their employers treat them not only during the growth phase, but also during the downturn... It is even more important to be an attractive employer who genuinely cares for its employees during this period and beyond," she said.
How the survey was conducted
The Singapore's Best Employers 2020 survey was conducted in August and September last year via an online access panel and through The Straits Times' website.
A representative sample of more than 8,000 employees working part-or full-time for companies and institutions employing at least 200 people in Singapore participated.
Respondents were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employer to a friend or family member on a scale from zero to 10. Zero means they would not recommend the company under any circumstances, while 10 represents a definite thumbs up.
They were also asked if there are other employers in their respective industries that they would - or would not - recommend.
The results of the two questions were used to calculate a score for each firm, with greater weight given to the direct score that participants gave their own employer.
Responses were kept anonymous so that companies did not exert influence over employees' views.
Workers were also surveyed on how they felt about aspects of their jobs, such as whether they are proud of the product or service their company offers, whether the company pays a good salary, and whether men and women have the same opportunities for advancement.