Professionals in Singapore have become more confident about speaking up and are becoming more assertive at work, according to new research by LinkedIn, the world’s largest online professional network.
The New Norms @ Work study shows that 58% of professionals would now challenge their colleagues by voicing their opinions compared to when they first started their career. One in two professionals surveyed also disagree that they are “yes employees” – someone who does as he/she is told and is not likely to question authority. Compared with their peers in Malaysia, where 64% of those surveyed said they are “yes employees”, Singaporean professionals are more vocal but trail behind those in Indonesia (37% are “yes employees”).
In Singapore, professionals aged 25 – 34 – or the millennials – appear to be the most eager to please. More than half (55%) say they consider themselves as “yes employees”, compared to 43% of professionals in the 55 – 65 age group, suggesting that the confidence to speak up comes with more work experience.
“The diversity of opinions in any organisation, if harnessed effectively, goes a long way towards strengthening the quality of decision-making. It will also help to enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a key regional business hub”, said Cliff Rosenberg, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand at LinkedIn. “Employers need to create an even more conducive environment for employees to feel comfortable about speaking up. Professionals can also share their wealth of expertise on platforms like LinkedIn to benefit a broader group and to build their professional brands at the same time.”
Dressing the Part @ Work
While many workplaces have implemented more liberal and casual dress codes, professionals still dress to impress. First impressions do count, and close to half (48%) of professionals surveyed in Singapore say that they will dress up more for meetings held during the workday.
Women feel most pressured to impress in the workplace, with 37% believing they get judged more for what they wear at work (global average – 25%), while men believe they will appear more professional by dressing smartly (46%). Men,however, tend to look for a more prescriptive approach than their female counterparts and prefer an environment that has clear norms of work attire. Overall, there is a clear idea of what constitutes appropriate workwear, with 39% of males and 47% of females keeping separate work and home wardrobes.
The Truth @ Work
LinkedIn’s study also suggests that a blemish-free professional brand is extremely important to professionals in Singapore, with some indicating they will go to great lengths to protect their reputations, even if it means being dishonest. One-third (34%) of professionals in Singapore reported that if they were fired from a job, they would make it look like they left of their own accord; 24% wouldn’t mention it at any cost, while 1% would even lie about it. Between the sexes, males (34%) are more likely to be upfront and completely honest about the situation, compared to females (27%).
Say Cheese @ Work
Reflecting the digital savvy of professionals in the country, the online profile photo is now an opportunity to make a good first impression. This is especially so for professional networking sites; 35% of those surveyed in Singapore say they think more carefully about their profile pictures on LinkedIn compared to other social networking sites. Conscious of the need to establish and protect their professional brands, 43% of Singaporean professionals say it is “very important” for them to keep their professional and personal social media profiles separate.
New Norms @ Work: Worldwide
A global comparison of the 19 countries that participated in the study finds that the value placed on one’s professional brand is similar from country to country, with some differences across markets:
• Across markets, a quarter of all respondents agreed that women get judged more for what they wear at work.
• In India, a quarter of full-time working professionals reported wearing a suit or formal dress to work the most frequently, compared to only 3% of their counterparts in Sweden.
• Indonesia professionals are the most image-conscious, with the highest number (51%) of professionals there saying they think most carefully about their professional profile picture, compared to only 4% in Japan.