Singapore faces health support deficit amid economic challenges, reveals Cigna study

6 months ago 129

SINGAPORE: Amidst rising living costs and economic uncertainty, Singaporean employees are urgently seeking more health and well-being support from their employers. This is a key finding from the Cigna Healthcare 2023 Vitality Study, which has highlighted a concerning disparity in ‘vitality’ levels between Singapore and other global markets—only 10% of Singaporean respondents reported high vitality.

The study, encompassing responses from 10,800 participants across 12 markets, including 1,000 from Singapore, paints a picture of heightened stress affecting the nation’s health—87% of locals report feeling stressed, a figure that surpasses the global average of 80%.

Singaporeans appear to highly value their environmental and intellectual health, yet a significant gap exists in their capacity to maintain physical health, with only 30% feeling equipped with the right skills and tools. This points to an imperative need for employer and policy intervention.

Furthermore, the research draws a stark line connecting vitality levels with stress, with those in the high vitality category reporting stronger mental well-being. Economic factors heavily dictate stress, with the cost of living being the predominant concern for 60% of those surveyed.

Employees are voicing a strong preference for health and well-being support from their workplaces, specifically favoring flexible working arrangements, comprehensive health insurance, and mental health services.

Cigna Healthcare Singapore & Australia’s CEO, Raymond Ng, underscores the critical need for employers to provide holistic support as part of their core organizational strategy, to help employees thrive.

The findings align with recent actions by Singapore’s National Wages Council (NWC), which recommends a one-off special payment for employees, especially those earning lower to middle incomes, to alleviate the impact of inflation.

These guidelines for December 2023 to November 2024 echo past measures during high inflation periods. Mr. Peter Seah, NWC’s chairman, emphasizes the importance of this gesture to support workers during these financially strenuous times.

Moreover, the NWC advises a wage increase for lower-wage workers between 5.5 to 7.5 percent or a monetary increase of at least S$85 to S$105, depending on the company’s performance and outlook.

This recommendation is part of a larger strategy to ensure wages grow in tandem with productivity and that wage structures rem...

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