98% of S’pore finance employees, accountants work overtime: survey

Almost all employees who work in the finance and accounting industry in Singapore go home later than usual. (Yahoo! file photo)

What may have been suspected has been confirmed by a survey – 98 per cent of those who work in the finance and accounting industry in Singapore work longer than their scheduled working hours.

This means only one in 50 finance and accounting professionals leave work on time every day, said recruitment firm Robert Half, which conducted the survey.

The number rises to 100 per cent when it comes to large firms of more than 1,000 employees, it said.

The global survey conducted among 2,179 chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance directors asked them how often do their employees work longer than their contracted hours. In Singapore, the survey included 150 finance leaders across a range of industries.

According to the survey, employees in Singapore work longer than the global average. At 2 per cent, Singapore has one of the lowest percentages of employees who work their contracted office hours of any of the 15 countries covered. 

Only Switzerland has a lower percentage, where employers state 100 per cent of their finance and accounting staff work longer than contracted to. Globally, 9 per cent of employees said their employees are never required to do extra work outside of their contracted hours.

When comparing those who work overtime every day, Singapore’s 17 per cent is the same as the global average.  The country with the highest proportion of employees working overtime daily is Hong Kong, where 42 percent of accounting and finance personnel stay long after the clock has signalled game over.
Another 46 per cent of Singapore employees work longer hours two to three times a week, higher than the global average of 37 per cent.

However, is clocking all that extra hours good on workers?

Stella Tang, director of Robert Half Singapore, said employers were divided about whether working longer hours is a good or bad thing for staff morale.

“In Singapore, 39 per cent of CFOs and finance directors believe working longer hours has a positive impact on employee morale, while 45 per cent believe it has a negative impact,” Tang said.

The remaining 16 per cent say working longer hours have no effect on employee morale.

Perhaps, however, it partly explains why Singapore’s total fertility rate is so low.

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