Remote work or going overseas: What employees in Singapore want

Can remote work replace relocation dreams for employees in Singapore? Chew Siew Mee of Jobstreet by SEEK in Singapore gives her take.
By: | June 10, 2024

Remote work has become such a part of our lives that it has led to a decrease in jobseekers’ desire to go overseas. In Singapore, remote and flexible work arrangements have become a norm for employees in today’s digitised world, especially after the pandemic, reducing the desire to seek new pastures.

Speaking with HRM Asia, Chew Siew Mee, Managing Director of Jobstreet by SEEK in Singapore, said, “At the moment, the percentage of global talents willing to move abroad has seen a continual decrease from 71% in 2018 to 67% in 2020, and 63% in 2023,” Chew shared. This decrease, she added, aligns with an increase in remote work offerings.

“Jobstreet’s data found that in 2023, there was a 15-fold increase in the volume of flexible and remote job listings compared to 2019. We can expect this decrease to persist in the next five years, especially with new guidelines for employees formally requesting flexible working arrangements in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. These are attributed to job seekers recognising the benefits of remote work, such as greater autonomy and flexibility in schedules, aiding them in achieving work-life balance.”

However, this is not to say that relocating for jobs will become a thing of the past, Chew highlighted. “The rise of global mobility will likely cause trends in the recruitment landscape to continually shift. 64% of Singapore respondents expressed a willingness to pursue opportunities abroad,” she said.

This comes from a recent study released by Jobstreet, Decoding Global Talent 2024, which shared that a majority of respondents from Singapore were willing to pursue opportunities abroad in high-tech and mature economies such as Australia, China, and Japan, in short-term assignments that would allow them to return after achieving goals overseas. “Of these respondents, young Singaporeans, in particular, are more likely to move abroad (72%) on par with their SEA (70%) and global (73%) counterparts.”

What motivates these young employees to move? Chew shares that it comes from a desire to learn new skills, build relationships, and gain new experiences, all while prioritising their mental health.  These opportunities, she explained, are more available overseas, hence the eagerness by these job seekers to pursue job opportunities abroad.

READ MORE: Remote work drives increased workforce diversity

“With the popularity of remote work persisting amongst job seekers across the region, the trend of decreasing willingness to move abroad will persist, though the appeal of international experiences will continue to attract young talent,” Chew concluded. “Hence, it is up to each job seeker to decide which arrangement works best for their own needs and career growth.”