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CFOs in Singapore overworked

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 28, 2012
Virtually no finance and accounting employee works office hours in Singapore, reveals a survey by Robert Half.

Only one in 50 Singapore finance and accounting professionals leaves work on time each and every day.  The rest, that is 98 percent of employees in Singapore, work longer than their contract requires them to. And in large firms of 1,000 employees or more, it rises to 100 percent.

This is according to a survey by Robert Half, the world's leading finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm.

The global survey conducted among 2,179 chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance directors asked them how often their employees worked longer than their contracted hours. The survey included 150 finance leaders in Singapore across a range of industries.

At two percent, Singapore has one of the lowest percentages of employees who work their contracted office hours of any of the 15 countries surveyed, said the recruitment firm in a statement. Only Switzerland has a lower percentage, where employers state 100 percent of their finance and accounting staff work longer than contracted to. 

The good news is that Singapore's 17 percent (percentage of employees who work overtime everyday) is the same as the global average. Only Hong Kong beats Singapore on this score, where 42 percent of accounting and finance personnel stay long after the clock has signalled game over.

Another 46 percent of Singapore employees work longer hours two to three times a week, compared to the global average of 37 percent, said the recruitment company.

Stella Tang, director of Robert Half Singapore, said employers were divided about whether working longer hours is a good or a bad thing for staff morale. "In Singapore, 39 percent of CFOs and finance directors believe working longer hours has a positive impact on employee morale, while 45 percent believe it has a negative impact and 16 percent say it has no effect," she said.

"For finance and accounting professionals, the need to work late is often not a choice," she said. "The finance team has to meet deadlines set by regulations and corporate governance requirements.  Additionally, they often need other business units to supply information to complete their task. If other units do not supply information in a timely manner, the finance team has little choice but to work late and get the job done."


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