News: The quest for meaningful work: More Singaporeans seek purpose-driven careers

Life @ Work

The quest for meaningful work: More Singaporeans seek purpose-driven careers

Feeling trapped in a soul-crushing job? You're not alone. A growing number of Singaporean workers are seeking more than just a pay check. But what exactly does that mean, and how can both employees and employers create more fulfilling careers?
The quest for meaningful work: More Singaporeans seek purpose-driven careers

Beyond just the pay, more and more workers in Singapore today are yearning for meaningful work that contributes something better to the larger society.

A recent survey by Jobs That Make Sense Asia and Manpower showed that an overwhelming 97% of Singaporeans consider finding meaning at work important, with over half actively pursuing it.

The survey also shed light on the factors that contribute to meaningful work, with work-life balance and financial stability emerging as key priorities.

Interestingly, financial stability was not driven by material wealth but rather by a desire to provide comfort and security for families.

This finding suggests that meaningful work encompasses not only personal fulfilment but also the ability to care for loved ones.

The survey involved 2,023 working adults and college students set to enter the workforce in six Southeast Asian countries, including nearly 500 respondents in Singapore.

The great disconnect?

The reality, however, is this: only 20% reported being “very satisfied” with the current level of meaning in their jobs, prompting them to look for opportunities elsewhere.

This disconnect highlights the challenges both individuals and organisations face in meeting in between when it comes to their respective goals.

“Employers who have been slow to roll out flexible work arrangements should take note or risk falling behind in the race for talent,” said Linda Teo, country manager at Singapore for ManpowerGroup.

For organisations, creating meaningful work environments involves more than just offering competitive salaries and benefits.

It requires fostering a sense of purpose, encouraging social contribution, and empowering employees to see the impact of their work.

This disconnect between individual tasks and the broader organisational goals can hinder the development of meaningful work experiences.

To address this issue, some companies are exploring innovative approaches such as democratic decision-making and worker cooperatives.

By giving employees a voice in shaping their work environment and contributing to strategic decisions, these organisations aim to foster a deeper sense of ownership and purpose.

Purpose-driven careers: A global trend

This pursuit of purpose has become a top priority for employees across the globe, as revealed in a 2019 report where 82% of respondents emphasised the importance of finding meaning in their profession.

But what exactly constitutes “meaningful work?” Is it simply a matter of personal belief, or are there objective criteria that distinguish meaningful work from the mundane?

Philosophers and researchers alike have grappled with these questions, seeking to define the elusive qualities that make work truly fulfilling.

One perspective, rooted in philosophical discourse, suggests that meaningful work must transcend individual perception and contribute to a larger goal or purpose.

In essence, meaningful work connects individuals to something beyond themselves, fostering a sense of purpose and belonging.

This notion of social contribution is echoed in research on the meaning of work, which means that a job that makes a positive difference in the world is more likely to be perceived as meaningful.

Recently, the rise of “lazy girl jobs” and “fake email jobs” suggests that some young people are prioritising work-life balance and seeking roles that don't consume their entire identity.

While these jobs may offer flexibility and autonomy, they raise questions about whether work devoid of social contribution can truly be meaningful.

The quest for meaningful work is a complex and evolving journey, shaped by individual aspirations, societal values, and organisational structures.

As the nature of work continues to transform in the 21st century, the pursuit of purpose will remain a central theme in the lives of countless individuals seeking to find fulfilment and balance.

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Topics: Life @ Work, Culture

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