Singapore employees are most de-energized across Asia, says Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Study

  • One in five Singaporean feels de-energized at work, twice as high as the Asia average and 6% higher than the global average.
  • 85% of Singapore employees expect to experience burnout at work this year with one in two Singaporeans intending to leave their jobs in the next six to 12 months.
  • 62% of employees say not being able to work remotely or hybrid permanently is a deal breaker when considering whether to join or stay with an organisation.


Singapore, 25 May 2022 – One in five Singaporeans feel de-energized at work, twice as high as the Asia average and 6% higher than the global average. A staggering 85% of employees feel at risk of burnout this year with one in two Singaporeans intending to leave their jobs in the next six to 12 months. Top reasons include not feeling sufficiently rewarded for their efforts (35%), feeling overloaded at work (34%) and feeling uncertain with changes not being clearly communicated (30%). This suggests organisations have yet to keep up with evolving employee expectations of work and the workplace.


Drawing on insights from nearly 11,000 C-suite executives, HR leaders and employees globally, Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends Study, “The Rise of the Relatable Organisation” highlights how winning organisations prioritize well-being and reskilling while partnering with employees to co-create the new shape of work.


“Organisations now see the importance of nurturing a healthy workforce and placing good mental health as part of overall employee well-being. In fact, 36% of Singapore HR leaders say they are planning to introduce strategies to address burnout this year. This includes more mental health insurance coverage, offering virtual mental health counselling and providing trainings on how to identify and support those facing mental health challenges,” says Lewis Garrad, Career Business Leader, Singapore, Mercer.  


“While companies are doing more on employee wellness, a gap still remains between what companies are offering and employees’ expectations. Companies need to know that a failure to focus on employee wellness can potentially put a company’s transformation at risk.”


Work in Partnership: Six in 10 say not being able to work remotely is a deal breaker

One in two employees across Singapore say the future of work is about balance – fitting work around life and no longer life around work. Compared to 2020, employees today say they are more likely to stay with their employer due to “life” related factors, such as flexibility and healthcare, compared to “work” related factors, such as an organisation’s vision and leadership.


Nearly two in five employees in Singapore are willing to forgo pay increases to be able to work flexibly, slightly higher than the Asia (37%) and global average (34%). Over six in 10 employees (62%) say not being able to work remotely or hybrid permanently is a deal breaker when considering whether to join or stay with an organisation.


However, more so than employees in Singapore and organisations globally, executives in Singapore are concerned about the impact of permanent hybrid and remote working, especially the ability to build and maintain colleague relationships (86%). Six in 10 also believe fundamentally that work gets done in an office, not remotely. With 51% organisations in Singapore saying they are struggling with scaling up and sustaining hybrid work, there is significant work to be done in evolving their flexible work culture.


Mr Garrad comments, “Employers need to bridge the gap in expectations and embrace new, flexible work models to cultivate a workforce that can design their own careers. Those who find that balance and align their policies to the wants and needs of their employees will not only boost the motivation and engagement of their existing workers, but also will win the best talent.”


Build for Employability: 97% of companies see significant skill gaps

The pandemic supercharged companies’ race to reskill, with organisations globally investing more than US$2,800 per learner in reskilling last year, up from US$1,400 in 2020. However, it is unclear if the investment is paying off. Nearly all (93%) employees in Singapore reported recently learning a new skill, yet a staggering 97% of companies report significant skill gaps in their organisation.


While providing opportunities to reskill and upskill is top of the people agenda of organisations in Singapore in 2022, barriers remain. Lack of time aside (37%), almost one in four employees said they are not sure which skills to focus on. HR leaders, too, have their reservations. They find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change and emerging skill needs (38%), identify employees with the most potential to effectively leverage new skills (37%) and knowing what skills are utilized in the workforce today (36%).


“Addressing skill gaps is instrumental for organisations to realize their strategy, meet evolving business needs and ensure the employability of their talent well into the future. As skills become the currency of work, it is important for organisations to rethink how work gets done and how skills are made viable. Relatable organisations don’t just know the potential of their people across their talent ecosystem but are leveraging AI and technology build better careers and roles for employees,” says Mr Garrad.


Understanding the Talent Drivers to Stay Relevant

A fundamental change in people’s values is underpinning a structural shift in the labor market. With a record number of employees switching jobs last year, understanding talent drivers is critical. After job security, organisational brand and reputation as well as competitiveness of pay are the top reasons for employees who joined their current employer. Staying relevant requires organisations to listen intently to their stakeholders and walk the talk on their core values through company purpose and work standards.


“We are seeing increased pressure for organisations to start contributing to society in a way that reflects the values of their clients, employees and investors. The real challenge is making progress amid inflationary pressures, geopolitical conflicts, and tackling differing views on the future of work. The good news is, organisations now have a moment of profound opportunity to pick up the tools of empathy honed during the pandemic to carve a new way of partnering that is more relatable, connected and sustainable,” Mr Garrad adds.


About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 85,000 colleagues and annual revenue of over $20 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on LinkedIn and Twitter.