More Firms Providing Work-Life Initiatives In Singapore

flexible work singapore part time

More employers in Singapore are offering adhoc flexible working options and leave benefits. This is as per the latest Conditions of Employment survey by the Ministry of Manpower.

Here are the highlights:

  • 77% of firms are providing unplanned/adhoc time off or tele-working arrangements to their employees. This is up from 70% in 2015. These companies cover 82% of all people working in Singapore.
  • The most popular types of flexible arrangements include unplanned leave, part-time work and coming in to work earlier/later.
  • Many organisations are giving employees benefits that are better than the statutory requirements. This includes things such as marriage leave, compassionate leave and study breaks.
  • Employers that provide better options for flexible work, have lower turnover and higher employee loyalty.

Have a look at this video and infographic for more details.

part time and flexible work in singapore nov 2016

More Gender Diversity On Boards In Singapore And Asia

board diversity women asia

Credit Suisse recently reported that the number of women holding board seats in Singapore went up to 9.9%.

The bank studied the 3,400 companies that Credit Suisse covers, and found that, overall, European companies showed strong increases in boardroom gender diversity, as a result of high quotas and targets. Women hold nearly 25 percent of the continent’s board seats.

Meanwhile, the diversity progress in Asian companies had a great deal to do with the fact that they were starting from a very low threshold.

In Singapore, the numbers were the highest ever in 2015, with a 1.5 percentage point increase from 2014. Women made up 8.4 percent of the boards of Singapore’s largest companies in 2014.

Singapore’s percentage was higher than the Asian average of 8.9 percent. This number is slightly skewed, though, because Korea and Japan both have the least amount of board diversity in the world, and their percentages are included in that average.

While the increase is promising for Singapore’s diversity, it’s still outshadowed by some of its neighbors. In Malaysia, women held 13.9 percent of board seats and in Thailand, women held 12.7 percent.

These numbers are positive. However, it’s important to note a few factors:

  • The Asian average remains at less than 10 percent of female representation on boards.
  • Many companies have fallen into the habit of giving board seats and appointments to women who are already sitting members of other boards. So the same women tend to have seats on many boards.

The report also showed that boards where at least one member was a woman saw higher corporate performance, outperforming boards with only male members by 3.5 percentage points.

Additionally, if women made up 15 percent of more of a company’s senior leadership and management team, the company had a 15.3 percent return on equity. In companies where women made up less than 10 percent of the corporate executives, companies reported a return on equity of 13 percent.

Even further, companies with a female CEO had a 15.2 percent return on equity, while companies with a male CEO had a 12.8 percent return on equity.

Severe Skills Shortages On The Horizon For Asian Economies

jobs skills shortages asia

Many of Asia’s economies are discovering how difficult it has become to continue sustained growth.

A recent report published by the Workforce Analytics Institute (WAI) has found that skill shortages, caused by less-than-adequate education needed to prepare workers, are becoming a problem for many nations in the region.

The report, which focused on factors such as demographics within a country, labor supply and compensation, predicts a big shortage of qualified and properly educated workers. In a few of the region’s nations, the percentage of the population with an education beyond the secondary level is less than 10%.

According to the report, these economies “have a distance to go before their workforce is fully equipped to work in an international environment.”

Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong rank highest among Asian nations on the verge of experiencing severe skilled worker shortages. The lack of of supply comes at a time when skilled labor across Asia is in demand.

Although countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, have relatively better education levels, they are still seeing a decrease in their labor supply due to a lack of a working-age population needed to replace retiring workers.

People In Asia Don’t Want Female Bosses

female women bosses

Despite countless campaigns, seminars and movements pushing for more gender equality in the workplace, there are many places in the world where businesses are still dominated by men as compared to women.

Workplaces in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia have a long way to go in achieving gender equality.

It is a known, and unfortunate, fact that women face discrimination, biases and challenges at work.

While these are problems that women also face in the United States and countries in Western Europe, they are especially prevalent in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Unlike countries in the west, Asian countries rarely address these issues. Furthermore, as per findings from a study by Randstad Workmonitor, employees in these regions simply prefer to have a male boss over a female boss.

Randstad Workmonitor’s research measured the preferences employees have for a direct manager in their workplace.

Globally 65 percent of respondents said they preferred a male boss. In Hong Kong the number is 78 percent, with Singapore following close behind at 76 percent and Malaysia at 73 percent.

The study also looked at Japan and Greece, where a whopping 80 percent of respondents said they preferred a male boss over a female boss.

Another interesting finding is that even female respondents declared a strong preference for a male supervisor over a female one. The study found that 74 percent of women in Singapore, 74 percent of women in Hong Kong and 63 percent of women in Malaysia preferred a male boss over a female boss. This compares to the global average for female preference of 58 percent.

Despite numerous reports highlighting the huge pay gap between genders, 79 percent of employees all over the world felt that men and women who had the same job were rewarded equally. This perception was especially strong in Asia, with 81 percent of respondents in Singapore, 81 percent of respondents in Hong Kong and 83 percent of respondents in Malaysia echoing this sentiment.

Michael Smith, the managing director for Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, expressed his concern over these disparaging results.

The results show a worrying trend in this region with such strong preferences for having male bosses in the workplace, despite open discussions around the issue of gender equality going on around the world. Corporate and government initiatives are just a start, but for real change to take place, the issues around gender equality need to be recognized and mindsets need to evolve. As a staunch supporter of gender equality in the workplace, I expected to see these sentiments slowly change for the better over the coming years as traditional family structures, where the notion of men being the sole family breadwinner is dominant, are starting to be challenged in the region.”

Access 9,000 Professional Development Courses, Free On LinkedIn

free professional development courses linkedin

LinkedIn Learning is a paid subscription service that offers more than 9,000 online courses.

The courses are geared towards development of professional/career skills and cover topics such as:

  • Sales and Business Development.
  • Change Management.
  • Leadership.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Career Development.
  • Job Search Techniques.
  • General Business Management.
  • And lots more…

For 1 week, you can take any of the courses for free, without signing up for anything.

Typically, the paid subscription costs $29.9 per month and can also be accessed through LinkedIn premium accounts (Job Seekers, Sales Navigator, etc).

So head on over to the LinkedIn Learning website and see if anything catches your attention.

Happy learning!

Entrepreneurship Is On A Roll In Singapore

singapore entrepreneurship

GoDaddy conducted a study on entrepreneurs, covering around 7,300 people from various countries around the globe, such as UK, USA, Turkey, Singapore, Mexico, India, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Australia and Brazil.

As per the study, the culture of entrepreneurship is on the rise in Singapore, as illustrated by these figures:

  • 4 in 10 people in Singapore plan on taking the entrepreneurial route in the next 10 years.
  • Of the people who want to start their own business, 74% are millennials and 63% are from Generation X.
  • 72% hope to start their ventures full-time and 28% plan on keeping it as a side project.
  • 32% of millennials who are entrepreneurs in Singapore, began their journey while still in school (compared to the global average of 24%).

The situation is similar around the world, as technology makes it easier to become an entrepreneur.


For Singaporeans, the number one reason for wanting to become an entrepreneur, is flexibility and independence. Other drivers include the potential to make money and eliminating the concern of being fired from a corporate role.

why singaporeans become entrepreneurs


New Website To Promote Work-Life Balance Launched In Singapore

work life balance resources singapore

A new website has been launched in Singapore, to help employers understand and implement better work-life strategies. The site also aims to make employees more aware of guidelines, issues, possibilities and assistance for work-life balance.

The resources is called Work-Life Works! and is created by the Tripartite Committee on Work-Life Strategy, along with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

Some of the features, material and resources available include:

  • Information on work-life strategies and initiatives.
  • Guides to work-life implementation.
  • Employment rules and regulations.
  • Research and publications on the subject.
  • Case studies.
  • Information on services providers, events, training and funding to help with work-life matters.

At the launch event, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck stated:

In up times or down times, companies have to take care of their staff. If you take care of your staff, they will take care of your customers. Work-life friendly workplaces remain relevant in uncertain times like these and having a ‘culture of trust’ is crucial to keeping a company intact. Flexible work arrangements are a good way for employers to show employees they care, especially in bad times when a company is not doing well and workers themselves feel threatened.

Singapore Continues To Be The Best Place For Expats To Live/Work


Many people think about moving abroad and while there are many different and excellent countries to choose from, one has continued to stand out.

Singapore has regularly been listed by expats as the best place to both work and live abroad, for a variety of different reasons.

In a recent study of 27,000 expats by HSBC, Singapore made the top of the list for the second year in a row. For this study, expats were any adults who weren’t living in their country of origin or birth country.

Why Singapore?

The study shows that there are a number of different benefits for expats in Singapore, with the percentages for Singapore greatly exceeding the global average in several categories.

  • 60 percent of expats reported earning more in Singapore than in their birth country.
  • 60 percent of expats noted that they were saving more money in Singapore.
  • 73 percent of expats felt confident about the economy in Singapore.
  • 62 percent of expats think that Singapore is a good place to get further in their industry.
  • 58 percent of expats feel that Singapore is a good place to start a business.
  • 84 percent of expats feel safer in Singapore than in their home country.
  • 75 percent of expats think that the educational quality is better in Singapore than in their home country.

Expats overwhelmingly preferred Singapore in the study, with 67 percent saying that they have a much higher quality of life living in Singapore than they did while living in their home country.

If you’re considering moving abroad, adding this Asian-Pacific island to your list of choices might just help you find your new home sweet home.




Singapore On Top Of Asian University Rankings In 2016

asia university rankings 2016

When it comes to institutions of higher learning, Asia has some high quality universities and colleges compared to many other regions in the world.

According to the Times Higher Education’s (THE) Asia University Rankings, the top three countries in the area are Singapore, Japan, and China.

In fact, for the first time since the list has come out (four years ago), Singapore is sitting pretty at the top of the list. What’s most remarkable is that Singapore has not only taken the pole position but second place as well.

Traditionally, Chinese and Japanese institutions have been in the top three spots, but due to some impressive work by the Singaporean government in the past year, these institutions have achieved increased success.

Rankings at a Glance: Top Ten Asia Universities 2016

THE Ranking World Ranking Name Country
1 26 National University of Singapore Singapore
2 55 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore
2 42 Peking University China
4 44 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
5 47 Tsinghua University China
6 59 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
7 43 University of Tokyo Japan
8 116 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
9 85 Seoul National University South Korea
10 148 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology South Korea


As you can see, China and Hong Kong dominate this year’s top 10 list. In fact, the prestigious Peking University tied with NTU for the second spot. That, however, does not diminish Singapore’s accomplishments in the slightest.

In addition to monitoring and tracking Asian universities, THE also keeps a record of all college rankings worldwide. For the last few years, the Singaporean government has taken a strong stance on education by working hard to create world-class universities that bring pride to the country. The standing for both the National University of Singapore and NTU is just the result of a somewhat meteoric rise in world rankings. NUS has climbed fourteen spots since 2012 to be ranked 26th place last year. That, however, pales in comparison to NTU’s incredible 119-spot leap to get to 55th place, all within the last five years.

As far as China and Japan are concerned, both nations are currently tied for the number of universities within the top 200 of THE’s worldwide list. Each country has 39 institutions listed, but the edge goes to China, who has 22 in the top 100 compared to Japan’s 14. Ultimately, however, considering the population difference between the two, Japan’s standings are arguably a bit more substantial. That being said, however, the University of Tokyo did drop from first place to seventh. That drop is significant, especially when compared with China’s two top-ten universities.

When it comes to Singapore, the country has been able to make a lot happen in just a short amount of time. According to Gerard Postiglione, a chair professor at the University of Hong Kong, the Singaporean government has spent a lot of time and money to strategically place its top two universities at the head of the list. In an effort to compete globally, the government has created a lot of value regarding its higher education.

Another reason for Singapore’s standing this year is that the country has reached out internationally. It also did a lot to entice top talent from around the globe. Singapore has a very inviting immigration system which allows the best and brightest to attend its institutions.

Moving beyond Singapore, it’s fair to say that Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan are fast becoming top competitors in the region. With twenty-four institutions each, both South Korea and Taiwan represent the most universities after China and Japan. However, the edge clearly goes to South Korea, which has two top-ten institutions on the list this year.

Hong Kong has done well also and is a good competitor in the international education community thanks to six institutions on the extended 200 list, and each of them is within the top 45.

According to Tony Chan, president of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (in sixth place), what makes the area rich in education is a variety of factors. As a gateway into mainland China, Hong Kong has a free flow of information, a diverse group of locals, and a low tax system that incentivizes people to live and work there. Overall, the success of Hong Kong is indicative of a larger positive trend in Asia. As far as Tony is concerned, the area will only become richer, and the universities will only become more successful.

This year, the THE Asia University Ranking features twenty-two countries, including first-timers Bangladesh, Qatar, and Indonesia. This number is higher than last year, which only had fourteen nations in the ranks. It would seem that Tony is right, in that the trend towards better higher education is growing in the region. Soon, titans like Japan and China may have to make room for the new guys. But, for now, Singapore can take a moment and pat itself on the back.

JPMorgan Chase Fined Due To Illegal Hiring Practices

jp morgan chase jobs hiring illegal

JPMorgan Chase has been under investigation for the past 3 years, by Federal authorities in the USA, to ascertain whether the bank engaged in bribery at its offices in Hong Kong and China.

More specifically, the issue at hand, was whether the bank hired children of powerful people/officials, in order to win business/deals.

Some examples include:

  • Hiring the son of the Chairman at China Everbright Group, a government controlled conglomerate, after which JPMorgan Chase won several big deals from the organisation.
  • The daughter of a senior railway official being hired in JPMorgan’s Hong Kong office. Around that time, the bank was selected to take China Railway public and raise over $5 billion.

The Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, have reached the conclusion that JPMorgan Chase violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe a foreign government official.

It is estimated that the amount the bank could pay to settle this issue is around $200 million.

Growth In Jobs For Foreigners In Singapore Stays Low

growth in jobs for foreigners in singapore

The National Population and Talent Division published their annual update on the population in Singapore, as on June 2016.

Over the last couple of years, the government has been taking measures to reduce the number of foreigners employed in Singapore, such as raising the eligibility criteria and minimum salary required.

As a result of these measures, the number of foreigners employed in Singapore (not counting foreign domestic workers) grew by 27,000 between June 2015 and June 2016. This compares with a growth of 77,000 in 2012.

The report stated that growth in the number of jobs for foreigners in Singapore, will continue to be kept at low levels, with the aim of supplementing the local workforce.

Out of the total population of 5.6 million, 11% are S Pass holders, 44% are on a Work Permit and 11% are Employment Pass holders.

Best And Most Innovative Universities In Asia (2016)

best top ranking universities in asia

Two university rankings were released recently, one looking at the best universities overall and the other that ranked universities based on how innovative they are.

Let’s take a look at how Asian universities fared in the rankings.

QS, the educational consultancy based in London, provides a general ranking of universities, based on factors such as:

  • Academic reputation.
  • Employer reputation.
  • Professor to student ratio.
  • Research capabilities and footprint.
  • Professors with PhD degrees.
  • Internationalization.

At a global level, only two universities from Asia ranked in the top 20. National University of Singapore ranked 12th worldwide and Nanyang Technology University came in at 13th place. The next best Asian university was Tsinghua University from China, which is at 24th.

Here are the rankings for the top 10 universities in Asia (criteria is slightly different from the global rankings):

  1. National University of Singapore (NUS)
  2. The University of Hong Kong
  3. Nanyang Technology University (NTU)
  4. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  5. Tsinghua University
  6. KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology
  7. City University of Hong Kong
  8. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
  9. Peking University
  10. Seoul National University

Reuters also ranked universities in Asia, but focused more on innovation. Their ranking was based on criteria such as:

  • Patent volume.
  • Patent success.
  • Patent citations and impact.
  • Research citations and impact.

Korean and Japanese universities fared well on these factors and they are doing well inventing new technologies and advancing science.

Here are the top 20 most innovative universities in Asia:

  1. KAIST
  2. University of Tokyo
  3. Seoul National University
  4. Osaka University
  5. Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)
  6. Tohoku University
  7. Kyoto University
  8. Sungkyunkwan University
  9. Yonsei University
  10. Keio University
  11. National University of Singapore
  12. Tokyo Institute of Technology
  13. Tsinghua University
  14. Korea University
  15. Hanyang University
  16. Peking University
  17. Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology
  18. Kyushu University
  19. Nagoya University
  20. Hokkaido University