During the Circuit Breaker, telecommuting was the norm for employees across most sectors. Even now that Singapore has entered Phase Two of recovery, work-from-home arrangements remain the norm for many employees. 

According to JobStreet's new survey, 59% of the 5,285 respondents based in Singapore who are employed said that they are required to work from home.

Of this group of respondents, 55% said that they had to work longer hours while 44% found themselves working outside of their usual hours, such as in the evenings and on weekends.

Even so, the survey, conducted between 12th to 14th May, found that about a quarter of employees do not mind working longer hours at home in the future, while 41% of them wish to stick to their usual working arrangements.

In particular, employees who are aged between 35-44 and have no children, and who draw a monthly salary of S$6,000 to S$9,000, are amongst those who want to work longer hours at home.

The proportion of employees feeling unhappy increased by almost 5 times as compared to pre-COVID-19

 

The pandemic has also caused a detrimental impact on the quality of life of Singaporean employees. JobStreet's report revealed that the proportion of employees feeling unhappy increased by almost 5 times as compared to pre-COVID-19 period, especially amongst those whose jobs were affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the most prominent impacts of the COVID-19 economic downturn is on jobs and remuneration.

One in four Singaporeans have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, with short-term and low-income workers are the ones hardest hit by the pandemic.

Amongst those who had tenures of less than a year, 48% reported being permanently or temporarily displaced. More than half (57%) of those whose income brackets were below S$2,500 per month also reported that their jobs were adversely affected.

Notably, those working in smaller organisations, as well as those in the advertising/PR/marketing, tourism, F&B, retail, and hospitality industries were also particularly vulnerable. These sectors had the highest percentage of retrenched workers.

With many businesses struggling to survive, it comes as no surprise that wage cuts and salary freeze are also rampant amidst the COVID-19 economic downturn.

Two in five respondents reported that they had their salaries affected. Of which, 26% have suffered salary reduction or a temporarily freeze. The negative impact on wages ranges from reduction in bonuses to suspension of salary increments, reduction in salaries to salary freezes.

figure 1. percentage of respondents whose salaries were affected

The ones most likely to have been impacted were full-time workers, who were on contracts of 12-plus months and earning between S$9,000 to S$25,000 a month. By industry, those in the hospitality/catering, as well as F&B industries were especially hit hard, with one in four experiencing a salary reduction of over 30%.

Optimistic hiring sentiment for the next 6 months, retrenchment would not be a factor in hiring decisions

Despite the declining job market, JobStreet’s interview with close to 700 hirers reveals that almost a third of businesses that had reduced or frozen new hires were expecting a relatively quick recovery, with 5% already resuming hiring and a further 25% expecting to be hiring within the next three months.

For the next six months, roles that will likely be in demand are sales/customer service/business development (30%); administration/human resources (19%); engineering (16%); and accounting (15%). These roles are more likely to be junior/entry level (67%).

On a positive note, three out of four hirers have indicated that for candidates who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19, their retrenchment would not be a factor in their hiring decisions. Over a fifth of them said that they would very likely consider these candidates for their job vacancies.

Chew Siew Mee, Country Manager, JobStreet Singapore, said: "COVID-19 has caused disruptions to the global economy that we have not seen in our living memory. With the job market on the decline, job seekers have to adjust their expectations when it comes to the matter of salary. They have to weigh the benefits of landing a job during this time of hiring slump versus turning down an opportunity simply because it does not meet their desired salaries.”

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