Press release

19 Jul 2022 Singapore, SG

Employee influence in Singapore grows: 51% set to quit jobs for better pay, career opportunities and flexibility

Employees around the world now hold more sway in the global job market, with half of Singapore respondents (Singapore 51%, SEA 45%) saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months.

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Sophia Mah

Media Relations Lead (Assurance, Tax, Strategy and Transactions, Growth Markets), Ernst & Young Solutions LLP

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Related topics Workforce
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  • 12% of Singapore employers say they want employees to come back to the office five days a week; 90% of Singapore employees want to work remotely at least two days a week
  • Across Southeast Asia (SEA), 32% of employers have succeeded in boosting productivity and culture, through hybrid work and investing in amenities and workplace technology

Employees around the world now hold more sway in the global job market, with half of Singapore respondents (Singapore 51%, SEA 45%) saying they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher total pay, better career opportunities and flexibility amid rising inflation, a shrinking labor market and an increase in jobs offering flexible working – according to the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey.

The survey canvassed the views of more than 1,500 business leaders and more than 17,000 employees globally, including 50 Singapore employers (SEA 200) and 300 Singapore employees (SEA 1,100). It shows that, as many countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, employees have gained significant influence over their employers and that their “wish list” from potential employers is changing. 

Search for increased pay overtakes desire for flexibility

The main motivation for four in ten Singapore employees (Singapore 42%, SEA 38%) seeking new jobs is now a desire for higher pay. Forty-five percent (45%) of Singapore employees (SEA 44%) surveyed say that pay increases are the key to addressing staff turnover – but only 24% of Singapore employers agree (SEA 15%). Career growth is the next top-most reason cited by 35% of Singapore employees (SEA 32%) to move.

Flexible working arrangements – which were by far the biggest factors leading to employee moves according to last year’s survey – are now less of a driver. Only two in ten employees are seeking remote-work flexibility (Singapore 19%, SEA 17%) even though the majority (Singapore 90%, SEA 93%) say they want to work remotely at least two days per week. This could be due to the fact most are already working for companies that offer flexibility in some form. Only a minority of employers (Singapore 12%, SEA 19%) say they want employees to come back to the office five days a week.

Looking at the various age groups, Gen Z employees and millennials in Singapore are the most likely to quit their jobs this year (Singapore 57%, SEA 49%).

Samir Bedi, EY Asean Workforce Advisory Leader, said:

“Singapore’s digital infrastructure has enabled organizations to rapidly adopt flexible work arrangements and create attractive ‘phygital’ work environments. As flexibility has now become the new standard requirement, it is critical that employers re-evaluate their employee value proposition to address the key workforce concerns of today, particularly around competitive compensation and career growth opportunities. Employers who do so will be able to change their position from being in the ‘Great Resignation’ to one that’s a ‘Great Attraction’.”

Shifting views on culture and productivity

Interestingly, the desire among employees to seek out new roles persists even though they hold relatively upbeat views about company culture. The majority of employees (Singapore 66%, SEA 74%) believe their organization’s culture has improved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while only 38% of Singapore employers agree (SEA 39%). Additionally, while employees believe new ways of working have increased productivity, companies’ confidence in their own productivity is being eroded by increased turnover.

Growing skills and talent gaps

The majority of employer respondents (Singapore 64% SEA 61%) agree it is important to have a strategy in place to match talent and skills to future business needs; and they are prepared to hire employees from other countries and allow them to work from anywhere if their skills are critical or scarce (Singapore 82%, SEA 78%). About a quarter of employers (Singapore 28%, SEA 23%) believe improving opportunities to build skills will help address turnover.

Boost to culture and productivity from new ways of working

The survey reveals that a large population of “optimist” employers in the SEA (32%) are managing to improve both culture and productivity. It shows that they are achieving this by ensuring that their leaders have a shared understanding of company issues, external practices and strategies (97%). Other factors cited by this group of businesses as drivers of their success include hybrid work (97%), investing in on-site amenities (47%), enhancing workplace technology (50%) and giving employees more empowerment and autonomy (52%). By way of contrast, other businesses are continuing to watch and wait, or are only taking selective action. 


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About the survey

The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey is the latest and largest in a series of surveys comparing employer and employee perceptions since 2020. It compares the views of thousands of respondents, and the insights are meant to help businesses to create a sustainable workforce that helps them drive business growth, meet customer needs, and generate long-term value.

The survey was conducted January through March 2022 and received responses from 17,498 employees and 1,575 employers from 22 countries across 26 industries.

The survey was conducted using a third-party panel and targeted employers with a range of 500 to 15,000 employees.

Survey data is segmented by 88 different personal and work-related demographics and preferences. Participant responses ranged from 21 years to 65 years plus, with responses from senior leaders and individuals at all different functions.