Work-life balance is the ultimate job aspiration for people in APAC – especially Singapore, LinkedIn study finds

The desire for work-life balance was the highest for respondents from Singapore, followed by Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
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  • A LinkedIn survey uncovered the top five job aspirations for people in APAC, including good work-life balance, starting their own business and learning to use a new technology.

  • It also found that people believed success could be earned though hard work, the right connections, and equal access to opportunities.

  • 2 out of 3 people also said good luck plays a part in success.

New research from LinkedIn has shown that nearly half of all people in Asia Pacific regard work-life balance as the ultimate job aspiration, particularly for the developed markets of Singapore and Australia.

The inaugural LinkedIn Opportunity Index surveyed over 11,000 respondents aged 18 to 60 from nine countries – Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore – between September and October this year to find out their perceptions around opportunities at work.

It found that people from developing markets were more optimistic about the opportunities they had in the future, compared to people from developed markets.

LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2018

Among the top five aspirations for people in APAC were a job that offered good work-life balance (40 per cent of respondents), the chance to utilise their skills (36 per cent), learning a new skill (30 per cent), starting their own business (25 per cent) and learning new technologies (23 per cent).

LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2018

The desire for work-life balance was the highest for respondents from Singapore (48 per cent), followed by Australia (46 per cent), Malaysia and the Philippines (both at 44 per cent).

The company did not define work-life balance in its survey, meaning respondents were free to decide what work-life balance meant for them – whether it was an equal split between time at work and at home, doing gig work, or simply having more flexibility and telecommuting options.

Olivier Legrand, managing director of LinkedIn’s APAC operations, said people working in mature markets tended to prioritise work-life balance more thanks to greater financial security.

“Life is good here (in Singapore). The government, the people of this country have established a trajectory of growth that hasn’t entirely removed financial safety from the equation… and in terms of maturity of the economy, Singapore is significantly ahead of other countries, so this drives different needs and expectations,” Legrand said.

He added that the importance of work-life balance is expected to become even more significant in the coming decade, as the economies of countries like Indonesia and the Philippines mature.

Legrand said another factor driving work-life balance’s top ranking was millennials’ influence on the job market – with that age group set to comprise 80 per cent of the workforce in five years.

“Millennials build their priorities different from previous generations. There’s an earlier recognition that hard work is not everything, unless it helps achieve goals that are aligned with their values. Millennials are very vocal, and search for more independence and purpose with the companies that they work for,” Legrand said.

LinkedIn’s survey also found the top five barriers to opportunities among APAC workers were a lack of sufficient finances (30 per cent), a lack of connections (22 per cent), difficult job markets (19 per cent), lack of required skills (18 per cent) and lack of guidance (18 per cent).

LinkedIn Opportunity Index 2018

Among the top five reasons for someone achieving success were hard work (90 per cent), good connections (85 per cent), an equal access to opportunities (83 per cent), willingness to embrace change, and level of education (both at 81 per cent).

Interestingly, people in APAC also cited sheer good luck as a big factor in achieving success (67 per cent); this sentiment was the strongest in Hong Kong (77 per cent), Japan (76 per cent) and China (71 per cent).

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