The pandemic has caused a detrimental impact on the quality of life of Singaporean employees. Conducted between 12th to 14th May and involving 5,285 respondents based in Singapore, the latest JobStreet report finds that the proportion of employees feeling unhappy increased by almost 5 times as compared to pre-COVID-19 period, especially amongst those whose jobs were affected due to COVID-19 pandemic.
One in four Singaporeans have lost their jobs
One in four Singaporeans have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Short-term and low-income workers are the ones hardest hit by the pandemic. Amongst those who had tenures of less than 12 months, 48 per cent reported being permanently or temporarily displaced. Fifty-seven per cent of those whose income brackets were below S$2,500 per month also reported that their jobs were adversely affected.
Additionally, those working in smaller organisations, as well as those working in the advertising/PR/marketing; tourism; F&B; retail; and hospitality industries were also particularly vulnerable. These sectors had the highest percentage of retrenched workers.
2 in 5 Singaporeans were negatively impacted on renumeration. Of which, 26% have suffered salary reduction or a temporarily freeze.
Wage cuts and salary freeze are also rampant amidst the COVID-19 economic downturn — two in five respondents reported that they had their salaries affected. The negative impact ranges from reduction in bonuses to suspension of salary increments, reduction in salaries to salary freeze. Full-time workers, who were on contracts of 12-plus months and earning between S$9,000 to S$25,000 a month, were the ones most likely to have been impacted. Those in the hospitality/catering as well as F&B industries were especially hit hard, with one in four experiencing a salary reduction of over 30 per cent.
“COVID-19 has caused disruptions to the global economy that we have not seen in our living memory. With the job market on the decline, job seekers have to adjust their expectations when it comes to the matter of salary,” says Chew Siew Mee, Country Manager, JobStreet Singapore. “They have to weigh the benefits of landing a job during this time of hiring slump versus turning down an opportunity simply because it does not meet their desired salaries.”
Longer working hours due to work-from-home arrangements
With the rollout of the circuit breaker measures in early April, telecommuting has become the new norm for non-essential employees. According to JobStreet’s new job report, 59 per cent of the respondents who are employed said that they are required to work from home. Of this group of respondents, 55 per cent said that they had to work longer hours while 44 per cent found themselves working outside of their usual hours, such as in the evenings and on weekends.
Even so, around one quarter of the employees actually do not mind working longer hours at home in future while 41 per cent of them wish to stick to their usual working arrangements. Employees who are aged between 35-44 and have no children, and who draw a monthly salary of S$6,000 to S$9,000, are amongst those who want to work longer hours at home.
Optimistic hiring sentiment for the next 6 months
Despite the declining job market, JobStreet’s interview with close to 700 hirers reveals that almost a third of businesses that had reduced or frozen new hires were expecting a relatively quick recovery, with five per cent already resuming hiring and a further 25 per cent expecting to be hiring within the next three months. For the next six months, roles that will likely be in demand are sales/customer service/business development (30%); administration/human resources (19%); engineering (16%); and accounting (15%). These roles are more likely to be junior/entry level (67%).
On a positive note, three out of four hirers have indicated that for candidates who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19, their retrenchment would not be a factor in their job-hiring decisions. Over a fifth of them said that they would very likely consider these candidates for their job vacancies.
“Job seekers can leverage on the resources and support available such as #WorkNow when searching for jobs during this uncertainty. Launched in early June, the first-of-its-kind feature helps to connect candidates who are immediately available with potential employers more prominently,” adds Chew.