SINGAPORE - Even as competition for talent remains tight, tech giant Google has topped a ranking of Singapore's best employers for the second year in a row.
The Economic Development Board (EDB) came in second, the first government agency to place in the top 10 in the three years the study has been conducted.
Singapore's Best Employers 2022, a ranking of the top 200 companies and institutions with at least 200 employees, was released on Monday (April 18) by The Straits Times and global data firm Statista.
Toy retailer The Lego Group, tech giant Apple and fintech firm Wise rounded out the top five, out of more than 1,700 eligible organisations across 27 industries.
The list is the result of an online survey, conducted in August and September last year, which involved more than 17,000 employees.
Employers were given a score based primarily on whether staff would recommend them to a friend or family member. The top score was 9.16 out of a maximum of 10, while the score for 200th place was 7.
ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of SPH Media Trust's English, Malay and Tamil Media Group, said: "In a tight labour market, workers have options. They will want to give their time, energies and loyalties to employers who treat their people well, develop and seek to retain them.
"Good employers know this, and act to shape their organisations and cultures to meet this desire. Their employees become their ambassadors. This is what we are aiming to identify, showcase and promote with this annual survey."
Statista analysts Wu Ruoh-Yiang and Taylor Benedict noted that around 70 per cent of the companies on this year's list also made the list last year.
"Those 200 companies that made it into the list all showed remarkable commitment to their employees, especially during this difficult time," they said, adding that surveyed employees' overall satisfaction with their own employers has improved compared with the previous year.
Respondents were also asked to rate their employers based on various aspects of their job, the work environment and the employer's reputation.
Across six areas considered, atmosphere at work and potential for development contributed the most to employers' scores, said Ms Wu and Dr Benedict.
The other five aspects were image, working conditions, workplace, salary or wage, and diversity.
The clothing, shoes and sports equipment industry was reportedly at the top in terms of salary and image, as well as atmosphere at work and potential for development.
Meanwhile, the drugs and biotechnology industry had the best working conditions, workplaces and diversity.
Institute for Human Resource Professionals chief executive Mayank Parekh said the survey findings reinforce the increasing importance of workplace culture to attract and retain talent in a tight labour market.
"Companies should keep a finger on the pulse to understand what employees really care about," he said.
To keep its employees engaged, Google Singapore offered virtual learning and development programmes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, such as manager and leadership training, as well as mentoring sessions where employees could learn from senior leaders across the region.
As companies emerge from the default work-from-home arrangement, Google Singapore country managing director Ben King said the company is moving towards a hybrid work environment where employees spend three days a week in the office and two days wherever they work best.
"We know that nothing replaces the power of human interaction and the chemistry people have when they come together, so we would continue to invest in our tools and spaces, to ensure a connected and equitable experience for all of our employees," he said.
Other initiatives by employers on this year's list to better support staff include EDB's internal support network, started last year, that saw some employees trained as wellness ambassadors to provide support to their colleagues where needed.
EDB also typically designates the last two weeks of June and December as "no internal meetings weeks", so that staff can rest and recharge from virtual meetings, said its managing director Jacqueline Poh.
At Tanglin Trust School, initiatives such as the "secret friend" scheme (random acts of kindness for staff), gifts at the end of school terms, and bonuses for employees' hard work and perseverance through the pandemic were rolled out.
The school's chief executive Craig Considine said that to promote work-life balance, staff have free access to the school's fitness suite, and are encouraged to leave early when they can so that they can spend quality time with their families.
A survey conducted in August and September last year polled more than 17,000 staff to find Singapore's best employers.
All companies and institutions with at least 200 employees here were in the running.
Online access panels were used to invite participants with diverse socio-demographic backgrounds to complete the survey anonymously, in order to build a representative sample of employees working part- or full-time for large companies.
The survey — this is the third year it has been conducted — could also be accessed through The Straits Times website.
Respondents were asked to name their company and rate their willingness to recommend it to friends and family on a scale of zero to 10. Zero meant "I wouldn't recommend my employer under any circumstances", and 10 meant "I would definitely recommend my employer".
They were also shown a list of other employers in their respective industries and asked which employer they would — or would not — recommend.
The lists were compiled by global data firm Statista based on industry lists, employer databases and desk research.
The results of the two questions were used to calculate a score for each firm, with greater weight given to the direct score participants gave their own employer.
If available, the employer's score from the previous year was also given a small weight in the calculation.
More than 200,000 recommendations were evaluated by Statista.
The 200 companies with the best scores made it to the list of Singapore's Best Employers 2022.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.