SINGAPORE: Singaporean workers are sending a clear message: flexibility matters. A recent survey by Randstad reveals that two in every five Singaporeans quit roles that lack time and location flexibility, highlighting the extent to which workers in the city-state prize flexibility in their jobs.

According to the findings reported by Singapore Business Review, 49% of Singaporean workers said they would leave jobs that demand more time in the office. Similarly, 42% said they wouldn’t even consider roles lacking in flexibility.

The report also sheds light on the impact of this preference on employment dynamics, revealing that over a quarter (26%) of employees have already parted ways with their jobs due to a lack of flexibility.

Such a trend underscores the significance of workplace flexibility as a pivotal factor in job satisfaction and retention. Interestingly, the desire for flexibility isn’t merely a passing “want” exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before the pandemic struck, two-thirds of employees and job seekers were already banking on continuing flexible working conditions post-pandemic. This sentiment has driven significant life choices, from relocations to acquiring pets.

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Ms Jaya Dass, the managing director of permanent recruitment at Randstad Asia Pacific, stresses the importance of aligning employer practices with talent expectations.

She emphasises the need for organisations to “understand their workforce’s unique priorities and perspectives to offer the flexibility and diversity they need.”

Ms Dass also highlighted, “The employee experience is not simply about mandating a physical presence, but fostering an equitable environment and value system that merits workers for their contributions.”

However, the report paints a somewhat grim picture of a disparity between talent expectations and employer practices.

Despite the clear demand for flexibility, over two-thirds (67%) of respondents noted increased employer strictness regarding in-office work.

This disconnect seems particularly pronounced among younger generations. Gen Z (74%) and millennial (72%) respondents expressed discontent with roles demanding more office hours.

Gen Z employees (69%) also reported quitting jobs due to office-centric demands.

In light of these findings, Ms Dass calls upon employers to recalibrate their strategies, stating:

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We urge employers to shift their strategies towards building a strong team culture that thrives on trust and connection so that they can enjoy the benefits that come from a productive and engaged workforce.”

Based on a survey of 759 locally-based employees and job seekers, the report serves as a wake-up call for employers to rethink their approach to workplace dynamics.

As Singaporean workers increasingly prioritise flexibility, businesses must adapt to meet this evolving need, lest they risk losing top talent and jeopardising employee satisfaction and retention. /TISG

Read also: Employees can now request flexible work arrangements starting December 2024