career progression, singapore workforce, generation

Despite uncertainties, most workers are optimistic about their career and financial prospects — with 43% of respondents saying their financial plans are going in the right direction.

When surveyed recently, the majority of employees in Singapore (65%) believe that they need to sacrifice personal time and work-life balance to achieve their financial and career goals – and over half of those interviewed said they intend to do so.

This finding may come as no surprise as, after all, 74% of the respondents see Singapore as one of the most competitive job markets globally.

Generational differences

The study by Indeed also revealed an increasing difference in views between generations (Millennials and Generation Z) and (Generation X and Baby Boomers) — the first group was less inclined to follow the previous generation in sacrificing personal projects to have better roles and salaries. In tandem, 35% of young workers (16-24) surveyed are looking to move to a job that will give them flexibility, while only 17% of those between 45 and 54 years old are doing the same.

As a whole, Millennials and Generation Z employees agreed with previous generations that they need to work hard to progress, but are less willing to do it. While almost six in ten (59%) of those aged 45 to 54 sacrifice time for better pay, the numbers are much lower for the younger generations, with almost half (46%) of those aged 16 to 24 doing the same. 

According to Nishita Lalvani, Senior Manager, Marketing at Indeed Southeast Asia and India, one explanation for the increasing gap between generations is that younger workers are less confident that hard work will bring the benefits previous generations had. For example, a third of those under 24 are unsure that they will achieve their financial goals, irrespectively of how much they work.

"This number is much higher than we see among more mature workers, possibly because older generations have already achieved their goals or have much more clarity if they will make it. This uncertainty, allied to a change in values, makes many young workers question whether it is worth sacrificing time for career and financial gains," Lalvani notes.

Workers remain optimistic about their prospects

Despite the uncertainty, most workers surveyed expressed optimism towards their career and financial prospects. In particular, 43% of respondents said their financial plans are going in the right direction, with 48% expecting to do well professionally.

Interestingly, the generational differences reflected in the report are not stopping the different age groups from agreeing on how they perceive each other. How so? Looking at one aspect, close to seven in 10 (69%) of respondents agree that Millennials and Generation Z have alternative values about work and prefer to work less than previous generations. Backing this up, 67% of the young respondents confirm this vision.

On the contrary, the same percentage (69%) concur that Generation X and Boomers do not understand that it is much harder to achieve professional and financial goals for younger Singaporeans, and mistake their frustrations for fear of working hard. In that vein, 55% of those above 45 accept this affirmation.

The above aside, the report also revealed additional findings on overtime work, how happy respondents are with their level of career success, and more:

  • More than 70% of respondents say they are happy with their level of success in their career. Older respondents above 55 were the most satisfied, with more than 80% stating so.
  • Only 12.5% of those interviewed think it's possible to achieve their financial goals without sacrificing their personal life.
  • Only 11% of job seekers in Singapore say they never work overtime, with younger workers under 34 working the most extra hours. In fact, around 50% of the workers in this age bracket work additional hours at least 50% of the time.
  • Over half (58%) of young workers under 24 think they might miss their current job if they don't work longer hours.

Image / 123RF

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