Singapore professionals world’s least productive: study

Low productivity has been particularly detrimental for Singapore’s service industry.

Officer workers in Singapore are seemingly spending more time on administrative tasks than on their primary job functions.

Singapore workers spend only 60% of their time on primary tasks and roughly 380 hours a year (equivalent to 47.5 work days or one-fifth of the working year) completing administrative or repetitive tasks, according to a new Unit4 study. 

This is significantly less than the global average, where workers spend at least 72% of their working hours on what they are paid to do.

Generation X appears to be less preoccupied with non-primary tasks than millennials, as on average, the study revealed those aged 41 above estimate they spend significantly more time on their primary duties compared to those aged 26-30.

Administrative tasks, as identified by respondents, include manually collating and entering data, tracking project status, handling invoices and submitting expenses.

“Left unchanged, this productivity issue could be crippling for business, particularly services organisations who rely on the strengths and output of their people.” said Stephan Sieber, CEO of Unit4.

In fact, the study showed that the cost to the service industry in lost productivity due to excessive administration is more than US$2.87 trillion annually (S$6.95 trillion) across the 11 countries combined, including US$26.3 billion (S$36.5 billion) in Singapore.

When asked if they would trust technology – such as a digital/ virtual assistant or software application – to manage repetitive tasks, 83% said they would. Over 70% felt they would see improved productivity, and 69% felt it would improve their happiness. 

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