The views of over 2,000 workers in Singapore
are excited or confident about the future
think their job will be obsolete within 5 years
want a mix of remote and in-person working
have been held back by discrimination at work
One of the largest global surveys of workers reveal that the Singapore workforce have divergent views about the future of jobs, with some concerning undercurrents. The ability to emerge stronger from the past year has depended on how well teams worked together, how we showed support for our people and our communities, how our workforce has successfully improved digital skills as a direct result of the pandemic, and how our talent felt about their daily experience. This hasn’t changed. Even as we look to return to some sense of normalcy in the near future, the way people work, the skills they require, and the expectations they have for their employers have forever changed. An increasing spotlight on building diverse and inclusive teams is also observed, with the ultimate goal of encouraging different perspectives that can result in a more sustainable and effective business.
All in all, it’s time for business leaders to reimagine how, where and why we all work, create policies and plans on how to best support their people in this new world, and recognise the larger role they play in society.
With the pandemic’s disruption contributing to people’s anxiety about the future, 50% of Singapore workers think their job would likely be obsolete within five years - a more pessimistic view compared to 39% globally. With the acceleration of digitalisation, businesses are constantly evolving, and roles and career paths are being redefined. 63% believe traditional employment won't be around in the future, and that we’ll sell our skills on a short-term basis to those who need them.
Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
In one of the pandemic’s positive surprises, slightly over half of Singapore workers claim they successfully improved their digital skills. A large majority are also ready to learn new skills or completely re-train in order to remain employable in the future. However, leaders need to create more inclusive opportunities to upskill as we see the digital divide widening, with those who most need digital skills are still the least likely to get them.
Q. Is your current employer giving you the opportunity to improve your digital skills outside your normal duties? (Chart shows respondents who say their employer provides “many opportunities”, sorted by highest educational level achieved)
As part of your digital workforce strategy:
Workers report that age (29%), social class (19%), race and/or ethnicity (17%) and their caring responsibilities (17%) are the top reasons that they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace. As we progress forward as a society, there’s a real need to open up genuine, fully inclusive conversations about how to build more diverse and purpose-led workplaces. Diverse and inclusive teams lead to different perspectives, creative thinking and open collaboration – ultimately building a more sustainable and effective business.
Q. Have you ever felt you have been overlooked for career advancement or inclusion in training due to the following? (Select all that apply)
Transparency, though uncomfortable, grounds everything, and shining light on where we can improve makes tough challenges impossible to ignore. For example, according to the Women in Work Index 2021, women’s jobs are being significantly impacted by COVID-19. Women are losing their jobs at a faster rate than men because of how COVID-19 has amplified the unequal burden of unpaid care and domestic work carried by women. The longer this higher care burden on women lasts, the more likely women are to leave the labour market permanently - reversing the progress made towards gender equality.
2020 was a trying year for so many reasons, and as people dealt with the ramifications of a global pandemic, a sliding economy and racial unrest, workers started to demand more from the corporate world. Business leaders are now pressed to weigh in and help solve our most pressing societal issues. This is not just about attracting younger talent; it is relevant for the entire workforce regardless of age.
Q. Thinking about your career to date and your future career, which of the following factors is most important to you?
In today’s world, social good and profitability are increasingly intertwined. Salary increment and career advancement are no longer enough. Leading with purpose has never been more critical.
The pandemic has shown that working remotely at scale is achievable, and the survey concludes that for many employees, it is desirable on a sustained basis. With that in mind, most companies are already planning to maintain at least some virtual work or flextime. Other than workplace design changes for a conducive work environment, a structured journey in which job roles and accountability, governance and decision making, people capabilities and networks etc. are collaboratively redefined would also be required to improve productivity and efficiency.
Q. In the future, what would your ideal work environment look like?
Companies need to reflect on what will be the refreshed purpose of the physical office.
"While the world of work is disrupted like never before, there is an opportunity to design a new normal and emerge stronger. As we are all acclimatising to new ways of working, we can consider bold decisions about how and where we work."
Workforce Transformation Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore
Tel: +65 9667 4961
Partner, Workforce Transformation, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore
Tel: +65 9660 5011