13 October 2021

HSBC Survey: Singapore firms ahead of the curve in investing in workplaces of the future

Singapore firms are gearing up for a post-pandemic workplace with investment earmarked for developing more collaborative workspaces, building employees’ skills, and enhancing the firm’s ESG credentials, a global HSBC survey has revealed.

The findings come from HSBC’s Navigator: Future of Work report, a survey of 2,130 business leaders globally1, including over 200 respondents in Singapore.

Developing workspace to retain innovation

According to the report, 53% of firms in Singapore say hybrid working will promote innovation, compared to 65% of global firms. As a result, business leaders are placing high priority on creating environments that foster and enable innovation (36% SG vs 33% global), that lead to greater collaboration (44% SG vs 39% global) and which enable people from around the world to convene (37% SG vs 30% global).

Greater emphasis digital and ESG skills

New global trends are also changing how Singapore businesses invest in their people. Firms in the Republic place a greater emphasis than their global counterparts on upskilling with an emphasis on ESG and digital. The report reveals that 41% (vs 33% globally) are emphasizing ESG skills development and 43% (vs 35% globally) on cybersecurity.

Increasing social purpose

Whilst Singapore firms have historically been behind the curve in identifying a social purpose, they are now accelerating their plans in order to attract talent. According to the report, 39% of firms have established a social purpose in the last year and a further 20% of firms plan to do so.

Does your company have a social purpose? Global Singapore
Yes, it has been in place for more than 12 months 45% 33%
Yes, it was established within the past 12 months 32% 39%
No, but we are taking steps to establish it 16% 20%
No, but we recognise the need to establish it 5% 5%
No, we don’t believe it is necessary to have it 2% 3%

Regina Lee, Head of Commercial Banking, HSBC Singapore: “Whilst we’re still in the throes of the pandemic, it’s clear from the survey that Singapore business leaders have an eye on the future of work in order to continue carving out a commercial edge when borders and commerce fully re-open. Leaders know that in order to retain their competitive edge, they must reprioritize investment in tools, skills and environments to spur creativity and innovation. Moreover, it’s clear firms see ESG and digital as skills of the future and are pivoting their training emphasis in this direction.”

Ms Lee continues: “What is stark is businesses’ intent to focus on CSR in order to stay relevant to all stakeholders - including employees - despite the tough operating environment. ESG is moving from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘commercial must have’. Firms are becoming more aware of the correlation between sustainability and profitability, but they must be cognizant of the need to do so holistically. The task now is to implement CSR policies that are meaningful and holistic; businesses must look to how it forms part of a wider plan to engage with operational, employee, financing and community needs.”

Media enquiries to:

Lucy Stewart | lucy.stewart@hsbc.com.sg | +65 9658 3405


1 Across 10 markets: UK, USA, UAE, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Mexico, Australia, Germany

Note to editors:

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,976bn at 30 June 2021, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.