The survey found that around 95% of Singaporean expats in senior positions feel overwhelmed

Most expats feel symptoms of fatigue. (Photo: Getty Images)

A report released on Thursday (23 June) showed that the majority of Singapore’s expats in senior positions are feeling overworked.

The report is based on a 360 Well-Being survey by US insurer Cigna, in which 95 per cent of expats in Singapore said they experience symptoms of burnout, with 36 per cent citing the cost of living as the biggest stress.

Personal finance and work are plenty of major causes of stress as well, with 29% of expats each mentioning them.

The study surveyed 11,922 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 in 15 expat destinations including mainland China, Hong Kong, Europe, the Middle East and North America between April and May 2022.

About 98% of expats surveyed globally experienced symptoms of burnout, according to the study, while 90% experienced fatigue, and 89% said they were unable to separate from work.

While memories of the pandemic fade in many parts of the world, its lasting impact is still being felt.

About 73 percent of arrivals said they had spent time reassessing their life priorities since the start of the pandemic, and 76 percent said getting close to family and friends was more important than before.

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Since early 2020, countries have imposed lockdowns on movement which has resulted in companies turning to remote work for employees.

Pandemic restrictions on travel have affected migrant workers, with 87 per cent of respondents saying they have felt helpless, trapped or defeated, and 86 per cent expressing feeling separated or isolated in the world. And the numbers are lower among non-expats, with 68 percent of locals saying they felt helpless, and 64 percent feeling disconnected.

More than a third of them are worried or unsure about their financial situation.

Expat life change

The globally exciting and useful mobile lifestyle that used to sum up the “Expat Dream” has changed and more people are now prioritizing lifestyle, family and friends when planning future moves.

“Many entrants have seen their lifestyles completely ended with the experience of the pandemic, and are separated from family, friends and colleagues,” said Jason Sadler, president of Cigna International Markets. “The challenge now is to rethink the opportunity for expats to reflect the new experiences and priorities of those living abroad.”

Meanwhile, about a third of expats in senior management positions in Singapore said they were likely to move or return home within the next two years.

Among expats who are not in senior positions, the top move destination is Australia, with 30 per cent wanting to go there, followed by Malaysia with 20 per cent and New Zealand with 13 per cent.

Some 36 per cent of expats in Singapore are moving for a better lifestyle, 32 per cent for better financial prospects, 30 per cent for proximity to their family, 20 per cent for better weather, and 18 per cent for Better job opportunities.

Overall, the survey also found that expats who have spent more than five years working abroad are also less likely to choose to quit, with only 9 percent saying they are more likely to return home than a quarter of those who have been abroad for less. of a year.

The Asia Pacific region has a higher proportion of short-term expatriates than other markets. About 57 percent of expats in China, 47 percent in India and 40 percent in Singapore have worked abroad for less than a year.

The survey also found that young people were interested in working abroad, with up to 37 percent of respondents aged 18-34 expressing an interest in assignments abroad, compared to 13 percent for those over 50.

“Over the past few years, we have seen people choosing to take on roles closer to home, while moving away from ‘long-distance’ expat destinations, toward more local and regional roles,” said Michelle Leung, Cigna’s Head of Human Resources. international markets.

“With memories of restricted travel likely to remain for the foreseeable future, the focus will likely continue to be placed on being able to travel and visit loved ones with ease,” she added.

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