A third of Singaporeans are unhappy at work

HR consulting firm survey shows employee satisfaction has fallen from last year

Singapore employees are less satisfied with their companies than workers in other countries, according to a survey out yesterday.

It found that employee engagement here has declined consistently over the past three years in stark contrast to the upward trend observed across the globe.

In last year's survey, 73 per cent of Singaporeans polled said they were satisfied with the companies they work for, compared with the global average of 82 per cent.

But this year, that fell to 68 per cent, below the average of 76 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Improving employee engagement continues to represent a significant opportunity - not just for businesses, but also for the economy as a whole. This is widely acknowledged," said Mr Kulshaan Singh, the Singapore chief executive of human resource consulting firm Mercer, which conducted the survey.

"The decline is primarily due to the lower feelings of pride in and satisfaction with organisations, and our analysis shows that such views are largely driven by the employees' concerns about innovation and career development."

The survey polled more than 42,000 employees in Singapore, representing various industries and jobs from global and local multinationals.

It assessed employee engagement by measuring the level of pride, motivation and commitment employees have towards the organisations they work for.

Mercer said an increasing number of employees here say they are not getting the right opportunities to learn and grow, while 20 per cent believe they are not receiving the necessary feedback from their immediate managers to improve themselves.

The decline is primarily due to the lower feelings of pride in and satisfaction with organisations

Mr Kulshaan Singh, Singapore chief executive of human resource consulting firm Mercer

Even more worrying is that one in three feel that personal career goals are difficult to meet in their firms, while 95 per cent want to be recognised and rewarded for a wider range of contributions.

Although 85 per cent of employees said they were proud of the products and services they offer, 30 per cent feel their organisations are not continually improving these products and services.

Notably, one out of every three employees feel that the company does not support the development of new ideas. This is in contrast to the strong government commitment and support for driving innovation.

Attitudes towards employee involvement are notably more positive in Singapore, with 70 per cent of staff feeling that they are sufficiently involved in the decision-making process on matters that may affect them. This compares with 67 per cent globally.

"Engagement represents the best opportunity for Singapore to optimise the human capital it has," said Mr Singh.

"If performance and productivity are a combination of individual talent and engagement, the best way to optimise talent is to ensure it is engaged.