There is a stark contrast in reactions towards the COVID-19 outbreak between Singapore and Hong Kong. The difference in perceived support from employers is particularly striking, with significantly more Singaporean employees being satisfied with employers’ support compared to those in Hong Kong.
During the week of February 24, Consumer Search Group (CSG), a market research firm, and Ruder Finn, a global integrated communications consultancy, jointly conducted a research study on the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In Singapore, a fraction of public and private sector companies and organizations have announced pay cuts for senior management and provided the option for employees to go on voluntary unpaid leave. However, it is largely business as usual for both the public and private sectors. The study found that a majority of employees in Singapore held positive perceptions towards the level of support provided by employers, with over 60% stating that their employers had provided them with adequate support, compared to only 38% of employees in Hong Kong.
Only 5% of employees in Singapore felt that support provided by their employers was lacking, compared to 20% of employees in Hong Kong (see Figure 1).
In both cities, employers provided support via a variety of measures. In Singapore, the majority of employees felt adequately supported by their employers due to the provision of hand sanitizer (63%), the provision of health and hygiene guidelines (57%), increased hygiene standards in the workplace (53%) and clear communication surrounding business continuity plans (52%). In Hong Kong, more than half perceived adequate support from their employers due to the provision of face masks (57%), flexible working hours (54%) and the flexibility of being able to work from home (51%).
Despite the continuous spread of the virus, both Singapore (71%) and Hong Kong (72%) residents are optimistic that this epidemic will be over by the end of Q2 of 2020.