2 in 5 Singapore workers plan to leave their jobs this year – and it’s largely because of ‘limited career paths’

Younger workers have a stronger preference for jobs with pleasant work atmosphere and good training opportunities while experienced professionals seek flexibility.
The Straits Times

Satisfactory career progression and prospects continue to be major factors affecting employee retention in Singapore, a new study has shown.

According to human resources solutions agency Randstad, 39 per cent (or close to two in five) of Singaporeans intend to leave their current companies this year.

Released on Wednesday (June 19), the findings from Randstad’s Employer Brand Research study also revealed that out of those planning to move on, 40 per cent are seeking greener pastures primarily because of the “limited career path” they see at their current jobs.

Employees in Singapore will consider resignation if career path is limited and compensation is too low.

The study of 2,502 Singaporean respondents involved workers from different generations, including baby boomers (55 to 64 years), Generation X-ers (35 to 54 years), millennials (25 to 34 years) and those from Generation Z (18 to 24 years). More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of respondents polled held permanent work positions, Randstad said.


According to Randstad, despite “cautious” sentiments on the economy and labour market this year, people are still on an active search for new jobs, especially those who foresee some sort of roadblock in their career.

The global firm also observed that younger job seekers tend to go online to look for new employment opportunities and check on a company’s reputation.

Two in five millennials (41 per cent) keep themselves abreast of the latest information on potential employers via LinkedIn, while 46 per cent of Generation Z do the same on Google instead.

Managing director of Randstad Singapore and Malaysia, Jaya Dass, said: “There is a high chance that digitally-attuned youths are looking for their next move on their phones during commute or before they go to bed.”

She noted that employers eager to connect with job seekers and engage with their current employees should ensure that information about job openings and internal development opportunities are “comprehensive, easily available and accessible to everyone”.

Human resources teams are also advised to monitor social media pages, including Glassdoor and LinkedIn, to find out what candidates, employees and alumni think about their companies, Dass said.

What young workers really want

Randstad found that experienced professionals usually adopt a more relaxed attitude towards work formalities, with 38 per cent of respondents aged between 39 and 54 seeking companies that offer flexible work arrangements.

“As we get older, our aspirations and needs change. Our personal lives tend to take centre stage, so rather than spending extra time in the office, we may want to spend more time with out family or go on vacations,” Dass said.

On the contrary, nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) of millennials expressed that working in an office is not much of a concern to them. Dass noted that this may be because of the availability of an environment where they can be most productive in and have access to resources as well as people to exchange ideas with.

A third of millennials (33 per cent) said they would apply for jobs in companies that provide “robust” training programmes for continuous career and skills development, whereas 42 per cent of Generation Z candidates desire “interesting” jobs that they can be excited about.

Overall, attractive salary and benefits continued to be the most important considering factor for workers, followed by a good work-life balance and job security.


Creating a better work atmosphere

Citing that nearly half of Generation Z employees (48 per cent) said they would prefer a “pleasant work atmosphere”, Randstad said that companies appealing to younger talent should evaluate the designs of their physical and virtual workspaces, which according to the agency, set the foundation for cross-team collaborations.

The agency added that companies should also improve employee experiences through proper gratification and opportunities for work-life balance. Based on its survey, 31 per cent of Singapore workers would consider resigning when they are not fairly recognised or rewarded.

A similar percentage of respondents said resignation would be a possibility if they are unable to achieve a balance between work and their personal lives.

Dass noted that when companies invest and “excel” in improving their employee experience, their workers will be healthier and more productive, resulting in higher revenue and profits.

Even seemingly minor matters such as Wi-Fi connectivity, availability of communal and collaborative spaces, as well as easy access to and “open and honest” conversations with superiors, managers and colleagues can help to create an “ideal” employee experience, she said.

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