Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, employees of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been progressively adapting to the new ways of working. While employers provided some form of support, 79% of Singaporeans said they still need more support from employers to achieve their 2021 career goals. 

According to Employment Hero’s 2021 Employment & Recruitment Trends for Singapore SMEs report, this discontent stems from a lack of both mental health (36%) and financial support (33%).

The survey of 500 Singaporean respondents employed by SMEs (up to 200 employees) also found that employees who don't feel this support being provided could be tempted to switch jobs in 2021.

As for the motivators of switching jobs, career growth was identified by 62% as the top motivator - a sentiment that ranked highest (71%) amongst the Millennials (aged 25-34).

69% of employees felt prepared for the changes stemming from COVID-19

With possible changes arising in line with remote working and the wide adoption of digital processes and platforms, 69% of employees indicated that they felt prepared for the changes. 

Broken down into different demographics: 

  • 24% of entry-level employees felt unsure or unprepared for the upcoming changes, as compared to the overall respondents who said they felt unsure (20%) or not ready (10%).
  • Millennials were more likely to believe they will have to work additional hours with no extra pay (42%)
  • Millennials also believed they would be allowed flexible working (38%) or to continue remote working (36%) in 2021.

Flexible working support, and financial support on employees' wishlist for 2021

Given that flexible working arrangements have gained traction amid the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that 48% of respondents have indicated additional support from employers to sustain flexible working arrangements in 2021.

This is followed by more financial support (41%) to meet the rising cost of living and working amidst the ongoing volatility.

Further, as work-life balance continues to remain a key component of employee satisfaction, 51% have indicated that it should be an essential value that employers should support in the coming year. This sentiment was much higher for entry-level employees (64%).

For women employees, in particular, remote work has emerged as a mixed blessing as they juggle both home and work responsibilities. The survey shows more women are leading the charter for flexible work arrangements, with 50% respondents indicating it as a top priority for 2021.

Ben Thompson, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Employment Hero, said: "Blended working models are no longer perceived as a novelty but rather a necessity for SME talent in Singapore. The changing nature of work is ultimately leading to new expectations and demands from employees, and employers must remain cognisant of their needs. While technological support to enable ongoing remote working is necessary, this must be improved in conjunction with plenty of support and tools to ensure the safety of everyone’s mental health going forward."

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 38% of employees consider having a job that they can enjoy as the overall consideration when switching jobs.
  • 33% respondents want to work for organisations that rewards and recognises.
  • 43% of younger employees see no salary increment as the first motivator to switch jobs.

2021 employment recruitment trends for singapore smes

Infographic / Employment Hero

Photo / 123RF