Almost half of Singaporeans, PRs have seen a drop in income due to Covid-19, says OCBC survey

An OCBC survey found that 13 per cent of those polled had borrowed money in the last three months to tide over financial hardship. — TODAY pic
An OCBC survey found that 13 per cent of those polled had borrowed money in the last three months to tide over financial hardship. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, June 2 — The incomes of close to half of all Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) have been affected negatively as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic while only three in 10 have enough savings to last them beyond six months if they were to lose their jobs.

These were the findings of a OCBC Bank survey released yesterday which polled 1,000 Singaporeans and PRs aged between 21 and 65. 

The survey found that for those whose incomes were affected, they had experienced at least one of the four scenarios: A wage cut, being forced to take no-pay leave, having their commission earnings reduced or being forced to convert into a part-time role. 

Around 30 per cent of all respondents said that their jobs were not affected, while the rest said they had their salaries or allowance frozen, were working longer hours, had been forced to convert from a permanent to a contractual role, had a change in duties or had been redeployed.

The survey, which was conducted about one-and-a-half months into the circuit breaker period, also found that close to five in 10 people polled were worried about losing their jobs despite government support announced during the four Budgets this year. 

The circuit breaker, imposed on April 7, shut schools and most non-essential workplaces as authorities attempted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

From today onwards, circuit breaker measures will be eased including the phased reopening of schools. 

Here are the other findings from the survey: 

Financial and job security

  • More than half (55 per cent) of participants were worried about their current financial situation, their income stability and job security
  • 13 per cent of those polled said they had borrowed money in the last three months to tide over financial hardship
  • When it came to insurance coverage, some 41 per cent were worried that it may not be sufficient 

Savings

  • Only 30 per cent said they had enough to go beyond six months, which means that 70 per cent of respondents had enough savings to last them for six months or less 
  • More than half (55 per cent) said that their savings had gone down, with 22 per cent saying that it has dropped by more than 20 per cent 

Future sentiments

  • The prospect of losing one’s job over the next six months was the biggest concern cited by those surveyed (46 per cent)
  • Other major concerns were wage cuts (36 per cent) and having their bonus reduced or not having any bonus at all (36 per cent) 
  • A smaller percentage said they were worried that they would be forced to take no-pay leave (21 per cent) or face a wage freeze (19 per cent) 
  • Only 13 per cent said they had no worries about their job 
  • 39 per cent said they were at a loss of what the future holds 

What people have done or plan to do to cope with financial insecurity 

  • 35 per cent of had either taken on a second job or planned to do so
  • 61 per cent said they were working harder than before the Covid-19 pandemic, with close to half doing so out of fear of losing their jobs
  • 53 per cent had attended more online courses than before with the proportion higher among those in their 20s and 30s 

Investment and retirement planning

  • More than half the respondents (54 per cent) were worried about the performance of their investments
  • Among the participants who had invested, 40 per cent intended to reduce their investments over the next six months with 9 per cent intending to liquidate some of it
  • 27 per cent said they planned to reduce their retirement savings or stop setting aside money for retirement. — TODAY

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