HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Working like dogs: 98% of Singapore employees work overtime

Singapore has one of the least number of employees leaving work on time.

According to a survey by Robert Half, a finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm, a staggering 98 per cent of employees in Singapore work longer than their contract require them to. And in large firms of 1,000 employees or more it rises to 100 per cent.

This means only one in 50 Singapore finance and accounting professionals leaves work on time each and every day.

Here's more from Robert Half:

The global survey conducted among 2,179 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors asked them how often their employees worked longer than their contracted hours. The survey included 150 finance leaders in Singapore across a range of industries.

At 2 per cent, Singapore has one of the lowest percentages of employees who work their contracted office hours of any of the 15 countries surveyed. Only Switzerland has a lower percentage, where employers state 100 per cent of their finance and accounting staff work longer than contracted to. Globally 9 per cent of employees said their employees are never required to do extra work outside of their contracted hours. 

When comparing those who work overtime every day, Singapore’s 17 per cent is the same as the global average. The country with the highest proportion of employees working overtime daily is Hong Kong, where 42 percent of accounting and finance personnel stay long after the clock has signaled game over.

Another 46 per cent of Singapore employees work longer hours two to three times a week, compared to the global average of 37 per cent.  Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore said employers were divided about whether working longer hours is a good or a bad thing for staff morale. “In Singapore 39 per cent of CFOs and Finance Directors believe working longer hours has a positive impact on employee morale, while 45 per cent believe it has a negative impact and 16 per cent say it has no effect,” she said.

“Some employees welcome the chance to earn overtime by working extended hours, while others, especially those with family commitments may resent it. Whether extended hours are a good or bad thing for morale depends on a company’s culture and the personal position of the individuals in any finance team.”

“For finance and accounting professionals, the need to work late is often not a choice. The finance team has to meet deadlines set by regulations and corporate governance requirements. Additionally, they often need other business units to supply information to complete their task. If other units do not supply information in a timely manner, the finance team has little choice but to work late and get the job done.”

“The current talent shortage means companies need to work hard to attract and retain the best people. In order to retain top staff members, employers can prioritise work so the most important assignments are completed first.”

“Where suitable permanent staff cannot be found, companies are also increasingly engaging contract professionals to maintain productivity and output through the peaks and troughs of workload demands,” Ms Tang said.

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