Unhappy S’pore workers get back at employers: survey

26 January 2004

Getting back at employers is not uncommon among unhappy Singapore workers who sashay in late, bad-mouth their firms and take office items, a poll of work attitudes showed on Sunday.

Thirty-six per cent said they have been dissatisfied at work and 3 per cent ‘hate’ what they do. Of the 471 full-time employees queried by Singapore Press Holdings’ research arm, one in 10 admitted asking for medical leave for ailments they cooked up to avoid showing up for their jobs.

Others are deliberately tardy, refuse to work overtime, disparage their companies, and carry out personal chores during office hours, according to the findings published in The Sunday Times.

Five per cent said they have taken office items and 2 per cent messed up a project deliberately.

A Gallup survey last year reported dissatisfied workers here cost the economy S$4.9 billion (US$2.8 billion) a year in lost productivity.

One woman acknowledged calling in sick with claims of the flu, a migraine headache and stomach cramps for five days of medical leave. “I lay in bed, depressed about having to get up and go to the office,” she was quoted as saying. “I just couldn’t face going to work.”

Unhappiness stems mainly from low pay and poor career prospects, according to the Singapore Press Holdings survey.(emphasis added)

In contrast, 59 per cent claimed to love their jobs with 25 per cent wanting to stay in them for 15 years or more despite a year of lay-offs and wage cuts.

Most also regarded their pay as ‘OK’.

Management consultants said the past year’s upheavals have tempered expectations. Referring to the desire to remain in one job for 15 years, Lim Kian Kok at Mercer Resource Consulting expressed fears workers have become too timid.

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