A study initiated by leading homegrown financial services company Singlife has revealed that 17% of platform workers in Singapore feel financially free, as compared to 29% of average Singapore consumers in an earlier Singlife study.
Under 50% of surveyed platform workers considered financial freedom to be highly important. When asked to rate their level of financial freedom on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represented “not financially free" and 100 represented "extremely financially free," the average platform worker assigned themselves a score of 50. This is 10 points lower than the self-rating of the average Singapore consumer.
Only one in 10 platform workers expressed confidence in their ability to cope with rising costs and inflation, while only two in 10 could consistently meet their monthly savings targets after covering their expenses. Retirement planning remained a low priority, with just one in 10
having taken any steps to secure their financial future.
Conducted in July 2023, Singlife's online survey included approximately 500 platform workers in Singapore, aged 18 and above. In addition to the survey, qualitative interviews were carried out with platform owners in Singapore, including Deliveroo, Foodpanda, Gojek, and Grab, among others.
This study was conducted in light of the recommendations for social protection of self-employed individuals working for online platforms, which were published by the advisory committee on platform workers established by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower in 2022. The study employed the same methodology as Singlife's earlier study, the Financial Freedom Index (FFI), which sought to understand the financial aspirations and challenges faced by consumers from diverse income levels amidst rising inflation and living costs.
Both studies assessed six key themes of financial freedom: retirement, income, spending and saving, managing recurring expenses, managing unexpected events, and giving back to society. A total of 25 indicators were included across these six key themes.
Report to be launched at Singapore FinTech Festival 2023
The ‘Financial Freedom for Platform Workers and the Self-Employed’ report, spearheaded by Singlife and co-published with PwC Singapore and the Singapore FinTech Association, will be unveiled at the upcoming Singapore FinTech Festival on 15 November 20233. This comprehensive report delves into the perceived and expected levels of financial freedom among platform workers and explores the perspectives of both platform workers and platform companies regarding the recommendations put forward by the advisory committee on platform workers.
Varun Mittal, head of innovation and ecosystem, Singlife, said: “The gig economy is experiencing unprecedented growth and reshaping the employment landscape. This study is timely as it gives us in-depth insights into the perspectives and aspirations of platform workers as well as the challenges they face.”
Varun will be sharing key findings from the report at a keynote presentation at the Singapore FinTech Festival on 16 November 2023.
Wong Wanyi, fintech leader, PwC Singapore said: “The platform economy is a key enabler of the digital future. For it to be sustainable and to thrive in the long run, it is important that its ecosystem is set up for inclusive success for business owners, platform workers and consumers alike. In other words, a win-win outcome for all.”
Key insights on platform companies’ perspectives towards committee recommendations
• Platform companies were supportive of the committee’s recommendations and agreed with the principle of mandating at-work injury coverage.
• However, they expressed concerns on the challenges in executing the recommendations and implementing the Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA) as-is.
• Platform owners acknowledged that mandating Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions in the platform industry could trigger a negative circular effect, including increased operating costs for owners and fewer jobs for platform workers.
• They highlighted the need for investments in technology and operations, as well as a sufficient testing and iteration runway to ensure a smooth rollout of the committee’s recommendations.
“As a homegrown financial services company, Singlife firmly believes in safeguarding our local workforce, which includes platform workers. Our findings have strengthened our resolve to bridge the protection gap amongst platform workers through targeted product offerings to enable them to chart a better way to financial freedom,” Varun said.
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker