Nine in 10 employees and jobseekers surveyed across APAC are against a return to 'normal' working life, a study released by Skillsoft today (1 September) has revealed.

According to the survey, which involved more 2,300 respondents across Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore, 89% of respondents want at least one COVID-19 practice adopted permanently in their day-to-day lives. On average, just 11% are happy to return to how things were.

So, what COVID-19 practices do these respondents want to see?

For one, close to six in 10 (59%) would like to see permanent flexibility in their working hours, while a close percentage (58%) would like to work from home.

At the same time, nearly half (47%) want more time dedicated to their physical and mental well-being, as well as increased family time.

56% rank job security and work-life balance as key priorities

Across the workforces in these markets, job security as well as work-life balance have been ranked among the top three issues to be prioritised, according to 56% of respondents.

While this was so, close to three in 10 (27%) would like to see their health and safety as the number one issue to be prioritised by their business leaders.

On the other hand, just 12% ranked innovation as among the top three priorities they hope to see.

Commenting on these findings,

Rosie Cairnes, Vice President, Skillsoft APAC said: "It’s very interesting to see the emergence of a more inward mindset among workers across APAC - whether it is deciding when and how to work, prioritising family time over work and travel, concern for personal health, or taking charge of their own professional development. There is a resounding rejection of the old order.

"The COVID period has created a trend that extends beyond flexible workplaces, toward genuine self-care. For companies to reach the other side of this pandemic in a good place, employee well-being and wellness must become a permanent focus, not just something that gets addressed during crisis."

38% of workers would like more flexibility for parents of both genders

Apart from the above, the report also found that a significant share of the respondents would like to see their employer most supportive of offering flexible work for parents of both genders (38%), and hiring and support for older workers (33%). 

To add to that, they would also like to see more learning and development around racial diversity (29%), equal gender representation on the leadership team, supporting equal maternity and paternity leave, and monitoring, reporting, and working to close the gender pay gap (25% respectively).

When it comes to another issue - the topic of gender pay gap - the report found that more women than men (28% vs 21%) would like their organisation to address it. Similarly, more women also would like to ensure equal gender representation on the leadership team (28% vs 20%).

In the same vein, more workers aged 18-34 reported supporting equal maternity and paternity leave (34%), as compared to 25% of respondents aged 35-49, 14% aged 50-64. and just 8% among those aged above 65.

Photo / 123RF

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