Half of Singapore workers polled say they’re not getting ‘strong support’ from bosses during pandemic

Singapore — A recent survey by a US company has found that  more than half of employees in Singapore feel a lack of strong support from their employers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Mercer Marsh Benefits’ Health on Demand Survey polled 1,000 workers in Singapore as part of a study of 14,000 workers in 13 countries.

In Singapore, 56 per cent of the respondents said they did not receive “strong support” from their employers.

Its survey reports that slightly more than half of those interviewed on  average found strong employer support lacking. In  Asian countries surveyed, 46 per cent offered this response.

Such lack of support could be a source of problems, Mercer said, as employees who feel unsupported are more likely to want to quit their jobs than those who are satisfied with the support they receive.

“Now more than ever, being able to support our employees through these crucial moments will significantly boost employee morale, resilience, and confidence in the long run,” said Neil Narale, leader of Mercer Marsh Benefits in Singapore.

The company, headquartered in New York, has interests in asset management, including retirement, health & benefits, human capital, surveys & products, communication, investments, outsourcing, and mergers & acquisitions.

Of the workers in Singapore polled, 55 per cent said they faced stress daily, a higher proportion than in other Asian countries, where an average of 51 per cent  of those surveyed reported feeling stressed every day.  Singapore’s number is also higher than the global average of 50 per cent.

More worrying is the result that 26 per cent of the Singapore respondents polled rate their financial situation as worse than when the pandemic began, and 16 per cent feel lonelier and more isolated because of the situation.

Respondents were also asked about their mental health, and how comfortable they felt discussing this issue with medical professionals or family and friends.

In comparison with the Asian and global average of 19 per cent,  only 10 per cent of those in  Singapore say they feel free to talk about mental health issues. Worse still, they also find access to mental health resources challenging. Only 44 per cent of workers in Singapore say they have access to counselling services, compared with 52 per cent overall and 54 per cent in Asia.

In Singapore, 42 per cent also say they have difficulty finding quality mental healthcare, which includes counselling, therapy, and medication.

Access to mental health services is just one of two important areas where employees can ensure that workers feel supported, as identified in the Mercer poll. 

The other is lifestyle modification support, with 67 per cent of those polled in Singapore saying they have no access to this. An example of this would be additional support for pregnant women or workers with chronic health issues..

The survey also showed a gap in the impact of the pandemic on men and women. 

Women everywhere have had to shoulder heavier responsibilities when it comes to childcare, mostly because of  on-again-off-again school closures, which were often implemented without a great deal of notice.

Many women, therefore, have had to juggle additional childcare or even remote learning duties along with their jobs.

The survey found that only 10 per cent of female respondents in Singapore report receiving “very good” support from employers during the pandemic, compared with  20 per cent for the men.

Additionally, 30 per cent of the men in Singapore said they had access to mental health counselling services through their employers, compared with just  22 per cent for women. Thirty per cent of the men said they had access to personal accident insurance, compared with 21 per cent for women. 

“Catering to employee well-being and preferences allows organisations to create policies, processes, benefits, and resources that are meaningful and personal for all,” Mr Narale added in a statement. 

“This is an important step towards creating a culture of health that advances diversity, equity, and inclusion, while aligning with broader environmental, social and governance principles.” /TISG

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Half of Singapore workers polled say they’re not getting ‘strong support’ from bosses during pandemic