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Findings of study on workers' employment expectations & socio-economic adjustments



The Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower has released findings of a joint study with Dr Ho Kong Chong, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore on "Workers Employment Expectations and Socio-economic Adjustments".

The study seeks to examine the attitudes and employment expectations of Singapore workers to establish the extent to which they have accepted today’s new realities at the workplace.

It involved the conduct of a survey on 2,500 locals in the labour force in August 2003; supplemented by focus group interview sessions with job seekers of different skills and education levels and the agencies helping them.

The study found that by and large, the messages on the need to stay nimble, adaptable and competitive have hit home.

Singapore workers are aware of the challenges posed by increasing global competition and are prepared to accept variable wages based on individual and company performance. Nevertheless, there are variations among sub-groups with the less educated and the lower income, less likely to agree to performance-based wage systems.

The study also found that job seekers have moderated their expectations and become more flexible in their job search. They are generally willing to apply for different jobs and in different industries as well as jobs requiring them to work on weekends.

Amidst the difficult economic conditions, many have also applied for jobs which require lower qualifications and are prepared to take pay cuts, suggesting a certain amount of tenacity present in our workers.

However, some specific job conditions are less preferred, such as jobs requiring shift-work, jobs which are physically demanding and jobs that require waiting on customers.




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14 April 2004