Work-life balance more important than salary when choosing job: Survey

Thirty-six per cent of respondents attributed their stress to problems at work. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - A sense of fulfilment and work-life balance matter more than salary when picking a job, said respondents to a survey by mental health advocacy organisation Silver Ribbon (Singapore).

These findings were announced at the second Silver Ribbon Mental Health Awards Ceremony for Employers on Thursday (May 5), which was held virtually.

The online survey, which was launched on March 21, also found that 63 per cent of respondents felt moderately stressed at their workplaces, while another 28 per cent reported high stress levels.

Thirty-six per cent of respondents attributed their stress to problems at work, in contrast to 5 per cent who said it was due to non-work problems. Fifty-nine per cent said their stress was a combination of both sorts of problems.

About 535 people responded to the non-scientific survey, which was shared on the social media platforms of Silver Ribbon (Singapore).

Commenting on the findings at the awards ceremony, Ms Ellen Lee, president of Silver Ribbon (Singapore), said: "Times have changed, and having an attractive salary is no longer the only reason for wanting to stay in a job... therefore, we feel that it will be very helpful for employers and employees to come together and work things out so that they will better understand each other's needs and expectations."

Eleven winners were recognised for their efforts to promote workplace mental health and well-being this year. They are: Aetos Holdings, Bizlink Centre Singapore, FedEx Express, Home Team Academy, Jardine Mindset, Johnson & Johnson, Pocari Sweat Singapore, PSA Corporation, SBS Transit, the Singapore Civil Defence Force, and Twitter Asia Pacific.

Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang, who was guest of honour at the ceremony, said that supporting the mental well-being of the population - including that of workers - has always been a priority for the Government.

This is why the inter-agency task force on mental health and well-being was set up, she said, adding that the task force had identified employment support for persons with mental health conditions as one of its focus areas.

Such people may need flexibility in their work schedules so they can remain in employment while continuing with therapy or counselling. Others may need help in the job search process, said Ms Gan.

Various organisations here, including the Institute of Mental Health and the Singapore Association for Mental Health, provide support to people with mental health conditions and their employers both before and during employment, she said, encouraging more employers to partner them.

Ms Gan added: "We should further strengthen workplace support to sustain and improve our worker state of mental well-being... by identifying factors affecting workplace stress, and the overall state of mental well-being of employees."

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Ingrid Daniels, past president of the World Federation for Mental Health, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that mental health problems directly impact employers and businesses in many ways.

These include increased absenteeism, high turnover and negative impact on productivity and profits.

"Mental health support in the workplace is no longer a 'nice to have', it's crucial," she said.

Ms Gan said: "A culture of good mental well-being at the workplace benefits not just employees but also the employers too. Employees with good mental well-being are more focused at work. They're more motivated to achieve their goals, which contributes to a safer and more productive work environment for all."

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