40% of Singapore workers feel they work up to 10 hours of unpaid time every week

11 July, 2023

Singapore – 11 July 2023, 40% of Singapore workers believe that they work up to 10 hours unpaid time per week, reveals the ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View. The number of hours includes time spent working over lunch breaks and staying late after work.

On the regional front, when the number of overtime hours is averaged out, it is estimated that Singapore workers spend 8.19 hours unpaid per week. This is the second highest number of unpaid hours worked in the APAC region, after India (10.65 hours), but ahead of China (7.50 hours) and Australia (7.17 hours).

Interestingly, the percentage of Singapore workers who feel they work up to 10 unpaid hours increases to over 50% when it comes to parents with newborns. Yvonne Teo, Vice President of HR, APAC, ADP, says: “This could point to shifting priorities – parents may be more exacting about hours spent unpaid for their jobs if they have a newborn to care for.”

On the rest of the findings, Yvonne remarks, “Research has consistently shown that unhealthy work life balances can lead to a drop in productivity, which is contrary to the assumption that working more hours means that an employee is more productive.

“When we connect this to the People at Work 2023 finding that almost half of Singapore workers (45%) feel that they are underpaid for their jobs, these twin factors of not being compensated fairly on top of working unpaid hours can lead to substantial employee dissatisfaction over time.

“Employers could alleviate overtime hours by ensuring that all workers have access to tools that maximize efficiency and quality of the work they produce. It is also important to set clear, reasonable expectations to help employees plan their workload properly and ensure tsks are equally distributed across team members. Lastly, companies should consider using automation or outsourcing aspects of their work to external providers. For example, ADP has payroll and HCM software that helps companies to minimize time spent on admin tasks.”

These findings come from the recent People at Work 2023 report, where ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy.


For more insights, please read the ‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report here.

About the research

People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy. This included:

  • 7,721 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)
  • 15,290 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  • 5,751 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 3,850 in North America (USA and Canada).

Within the worker sample gig workers and traditional workers were identified. Gig workers were identified as those who work on a contingent, temporary, or seasonal basis, or as a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, gig worker, or use an online platform to source work. Traditional employees were identified as those who are not working in the gig economy and instead have a permanent full or part-time position.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results are weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank,1 which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of February 8, 2022.

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1 Source: The World Bank, Labor force, total, World Development Indicators database, February 8 2022