unhappy employees

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Other reasons attributed to their unhappiness at the workplace are "my current work arrangement" (26%), "the amount of work I'm tasked with" (22%), and "opportunities available for me to grow" (18%).

The state of happiness at the workplace across Southeast Asia is mixed, according to Milieu Insight's latest Happiness at Work survey. Seven in 20 working professionals (35%) stated that they’re happier than one year ago, while 13 in 50 professionals (26%) said they’re less happy, and the remaining indicated no change (39%).

In country-specific terms, respondents in Thailand were more likely to be less happy at work than a year ago (44%). Meanwhile, respondents in Indonesia (44%) and the Philippines (42%) were more likely to be happier today than a year ago. For Singapore, the majority (41%) feel that their level of happiness has not changed compared to a year ago.

Overall, the ranking is as follows.

For "I'm happier than a year ago"

  1. Indonesia (44%)
  2. Philippines (42%)
  3. Vietnam (41%)
  4. Malaysia (32%)
  5. Singapore (31%)
  6. Thailand (15%)

For "I feel the same as a year ago"

  1. Malaysia (43%)
  2. Indonesia (41%)
  3. Singapore (41%)
  4. Thailand (41%)
  5. Vietnam (36%)
  6. Philippines (35%)

For "I'm less happy than a year ago"

  1. Thailand (44%)
  2. Singapore (28%)
  3. Malaysia (25%)
  4. Vietnam (23%)
  5. Philippines (23%)
  6. Indonesia (15%)

What makes you unhappy (or happy)?

When asked what aspects of their current job make them happy or unhappy, the noteworthy factors are:

  • My salary (42% versus 16%);
  • My relationships with colleagues (42% versus 11%), and
  • My current work arrangement (35% versus 26%)

Other factors include "opportunities available for me to grow" (34% versus 18%), "my company's benefits" (32% versus 17%), and "the meaning behind the work I do" (32% versus 13%).

Stephen Tracy, COO, Milieu Insight, said: "It was fascinating to see that ‘relationships at work’ ranked so high as a driver of happiness, and that it ranked as high as their salary.

"As we approach two years of living with the effects of COVID-19, it would seem that employees are beginning to desire stronger connections with their colleagues, even if those connections have to be nurtured remotely."

Other findings

It was revealed that four in five working professionals (80%) across SEA feel that they have a sense of belonging within their company, and more than three in four (78%) agree that their companies give them what they need to do their job effectively.


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