Thursday, September 23, 2004

Singapore workers quick to quit over glass ceilings 

Singapore workers seem to be quitters. Excerpt from an article from The Business Times:

S’pore glass ceiling victims more prone to job hop: survey
Glass ceiling victims in Singapore are more likely to job hop than those elsewhere, according to international recruitment firm Robert Walters. In an online poll of 5,000 people, 83 per cent of respondents in Singapore said they would look for a new job straight away if they hit a glass ceiling at their workplace.

Robert Walters attributed this to the corporate culture here. ‘Talking to your human resources department or individual line manager about potential issues in the workplace can be seen as confrontational,’ said its Singapore director, Mark Ellwood. ‘And many people would rather avoid an argument and look for another position rather than address the issue head-on,’ said Mr Ellwood.

The survey, conducted in July, asked: ‘If you came up against a glass ceiling in your role, what would you do?’ Of those polled in Singapore, 53 per cent said they would initiate a job search and also raise the issue with either their HR department or their immediate manager. Another 30 per cent said they would just look for a job. The rest said they would resolve their problems by talking to their manager or the HR department.

‘It is very frustrating for a line manager or HR manager to receive a resignation letter with no prior warning, and at this stage, it is hard to salvage the situation,’ Mr Ellwood said...

In some cases, money isn’t the main driver that spurs employees to leave. ‘It might come down to promotions, alternative career plans or trying to alter an individual’s perception about an apparent glass ceiling,’ Robert Walters said. ‘If you feel there’s a glass ceiling, then talk it through with your boss or HR department in a constructive manner, as this is much more appreciated than doing nothing, becoming frustrated and handing in your resignation.’
Robert Walters director Mark Ellwood apparently thinks that the tendency of respondents in Singapore to quit their jobs is due to conflict avoidance on the part of the employees. He advises employees to talk to their bosses or HR departments.

But maybe the reason that many don’t could be due to the fact that their bosses or HR departments are not receptive to employee feedback. While modern management and human resource methods are being increasingly employed in Singapore, there are still many local companies run along traditional lines with clearly demarcated hierarchies. And if managements don’t keep communication channels with their employees open at all times, the latter are unlikely to talk to the former when problems arise.

The Robert Walters survey may say as much about Singapore managements as it does about Singapore employees.


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