The Path of Success Through The Eyes Of An Employee

As a working-class Singaporean, I can safely say that the majority of us employees have vastly different opinions when it comes to success. To some, income may be the biggest factor when the word “Success” pops in their heads. This might not be the case for others. 

A common misconception many have when they see someone having a career or job change is “oh the employee jumps ship, must have been paid poorly”. Well, it might be true, but most likely not. Even though financial reasons may be the driving force here, there are other factors at play as well.

Here are some perspectives on an employees’ vision of success, with a survey taken from 11,000 respondents in 9 Asia Pacific markets.

Work-life Balance

A major element that defines success for 48% of employees surveyed is work-life balance. A key factor for many because time spent away from work is just, if not, more important than the job itself. Family, relationship, and leisure are all integral parts of life; therefore, it is the definition of success to the majority.

Having the Right Connections

A strong 90% of employees surveyed believe that working hard is the tried and tested way to get ahead in life. But then again, is it truly the optimal path to success?

Even though the majority believes in hard work, there is a close to equal percentage of employees who agree that the right connections and knowing the right people play a huge part as well. They believe this is important because opportunities are achieved much easier if they have an avenue where there is already a helping hand waiting to pull them a step closer to their desired goals.

“Good Fortune”

There is an alternative view of success more catered towards the Southeast Asian demographic as compared to its western counterpart and that is “Luck” or “Fortune”. Some may brush it off as just superstition, while others don’t believe in such a thing at all. But the statistics say otherwise.

Countries in Southeast Asia like Hong Kong (77%), Japan (76%) and Mainland China (71%) are all strong believers of “good luck” when it comes to success. Evident from businesses placing the Maneki-Neko (lucky cat) in front of their shops to putting a gold coin on the calculators and cash registers. A unique point of view on success but an interesting one, nonetheless.

Barriers To Success

The employees’ idea of success is clear and understood, but there are also many hurdles and barriers along the way that hinders one from attaining respective successes.

Financial Status

Working from paycheck to paycheck is a very common practice or rather a way of life for many of the working-class adults here in Singapore. Thus, income becomes a huge roadblock for employees’ trying to reach financial success. To some, yearly increments might take too long and being patient is no longer an option but a survival need.

Lack of Strong Network and Connections

A foreseeable but stagnant problem amongst workers is that there is a severe lack of networking as well as connections to each’s respective industry. The majority at the bottom of the pyramid of organizations rarely have the chance to improve their career prospects due to a lack of exposure to the industry outside their own. This makes it that much harder to improve oneself and upgrade without the help of one’s own company or an external organization.

Difficult Job Market

Unavoidable fencing in today’s economy. The “Urgent: Job Openings” on dozens of jobseeker’s websites are just what it is, a battlefield of resumes. But then again, the hiring companies are not to take the whole burden of the blame. In the past (10 to 15 years ago), companies hire with the intention of the employee staying for life. This isn’t the case in our fast-paced current times. The situation is no longer about investing in a few diligent and loyal workers and reap the rewards of his or her hard work in the years to come. The rising crowd at the moment is the younger generation who aspires and craves new and exciting adventures, thus changing the whole concept of loyalty. This, in turn, makes the job market a much harder playground for everybody.

Lack of Professional Skills and Direction

More than 40% of Singaporeans quit their jobs due to a lack of skills training! (https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/more-40-singapore-workers-quit-job-due-lack-skills-training-survey)

And the number 1 reason for this is due to the lack of time. Sometimes, companies are too focused on their successes, they tend to neglect the worker’s goals and aspirations. This, in turn, takes up the employees’ time chasing deadlines and sales targets as opposed to making time developing and honing the worker’s skills and potential career-building opportunities.

But even as companies send their workers to build professional skills, there is another problem and that is learning and development (L&D) mismatch. Among those surveyed by LinkedIn Singapore, only 17% of employees sent for skills upgrading are satisfied with the courses they go through. Others cited that the courses they went through are not what they want when keeping their future career prospects in mind.

At the end of the day, all may seem like doom and gloom and success feels like oceans away. But do not fret, for there is a solution to every problem. Every night has it’s dawn, and it is always coldest just before the first rays of sunlight.