Employers in Singapore fell below global benchmarks when it comes to supporting staff during the pandemic, said Mercer March Benefits recently.
More than half (56%) reported that they did not receive strong support from their employers in Singapore, compared with 51% of workers globally and 46% in Asia, according to a survey report of the company.
The firm said it surveyed more than 14,000 employees across 13 countries, including more than 1,000 respondents in Singapore.
Singapore survey highlights
- More than half (55%) of Singapore employees reported experiencing everyday stress, higher than the 50% across the globe and 51% in Asia.
- Almost one-fifth (16%) of employees reported feeling lonelier and more isolated during the pandemic, and close to one-third (26%) said they were financially worse off than the previous year.
- There is still stigma surrounding mental health issues, with only 10% of Singapore employees saying that they are comfortable with discussing mental health challenges with family, friends, and healthcare professionals, lower than the global and Asia average of 19%.
- The good news is, Singapore employees are slowly warming up to the idea of sourcing help for their mental health, but finding access is still a significant hurdle.
- Less than half (44%) have access to mental health counselling services, compared to 52% globally and 54% in Asia.
- A similar number of respondents (42%) feel that quality mental healthcare, including counselling, therapy or medication, were difficult to find and access.
- The survey also found that for many employees in Singapore, having employer support when it mattered the most played a critical role in shaping their work experience and well-being during the pandemic, and the way they responded to work.
- In fact, more than half (51%) of employees who reported experiencing good support, said that their employer cared for their health and well-being, which boosted employee energy levels and loyalty, and left many feeling significantly more energised and less likely to leave their job.
Digital health solutions
- While most employees have access to the usual benefits such as medical coverage and dental care, critical gaps remain.
- Two-thirds (67%) of Singapore workers do not have access to lifestyle modification support, such as for pregnant mothers or those battling chronic health issues, the highest in Asia.
- More than half also lack access to mental health counselling services (56%) and vision care benefits (57%).
- Despite the rise in adoption of digital health solutions on the back of the COVID-19 crisis, only one in 10 said their employer provided them with virtual healthcare benefits during the pandemic.
- Close to half (43%) of Singapore employees reported that they have never used telemedicine or other digital health solutions, even during the pandemic. This was 21% higher than Asia and 16% higher than global average.
- As more medical and healthcare services move online, employers play a critical role in driving the adoption of these innovations to improve care access, affordability, and quality.
- Compared to last year’s survey, more employees now see digital health innovations as valuable to them and their families.
- Nine in 10 employees want to use apps and devices to take more personal control of their health when it comes to self-managing health conditions. Similarly, 93% of workers value apps that alert them when they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
- The pandemic has had an outsized impact on certain groups of employees, particularly women who bear the heavy responsibility of caring for their children and families.
- Yet, very few reported receiving “very good” support from employers in Singapore during the pandemic — only 10% of women said so, half that of men (20%).
- The difference in sentiment between the genders also corresponds to the benefits they have, with men receiving more than women.
- For example, just 22% of women had access to mental health counselling services through their employers, compared to 30% of men.
- At the same time, 21% of women have access to personal accident insurance, lower than the 30% of men.