Job security now a priority for Singapore workers besides salary, work-life balance: Survey

Job seekers are now more concerned about their employability amid a global slowdown and digitalisation. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Compensation is the top consideration when people here consider changing jobs but employment security also figures highly, a new survey noted on Wednesday (Oct 23).

It found that of the 14 options presented, 16.6 per cent of 7,000 respondents said salary and compensation was their greatest concern, while 13.7 per cent picked work-life balance and 11.4 per cent cited job security as their top considerations.

Factors that were once considered most important in evaluating a job offer - future prospects, employee benefits, management and culture of the organisation - are now becoming less important, said recruitment portal JobStreet, which conducted the survey in April and May.

A similar poll it undertook in 2017 that asked respondents about their ideal employer ranked "opportunities for career advancement" as third out of the 10 options while "job growth and stability" came in near the bottom. Singapore country manager Chew Siew Mee said that job seekers are now more concerned about their employability amid a global slowdown and digitalisation.

"As the current global economic status remains uncertain, it is only natural for job seekers to seek security when it comes to important issues like employment," said Ms Chew.

About 33 per cent of survey respondents said they would decline a job offer if it was on a part-time or contract basis.

And 44 per cent said they would prefer to be employed by an established and financially secure company.

Job seekers here expect an average pay rise of 22.4 per cent when changing roles, the survey found. Those working in retail and merchandise wanted the highest pay bump of 26.6 per cent while those in the food and beverage, catering and restaurant category cited 26.1 per cent with staff in advertising, media and public relations close behind on 25.7 per cent.

While respondents still see attractive salary packages as an important consideration, the survey found that Generation Z job seekers - those aged 18 to 23 - were willing to trade off salary and compensation for exciting career development opportunities, modern working environments and companies that are socially responsible.

Institute for Human Resource Professionals chief executive Mayank Parekh said an uncertain economic environment reduces staff turnover as employees hunker down for hard times.

"Job seekers should be more discerning on job opportunities, especially in vulnerable sectors such as trade-related ones," he noted.

However, he added, as more and more jobs will be impacted with the wider use of technology and artificial intelligence, now is the time to invest in skill sets and to develop competencies in new areas.

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