Singapore’s Platform Workers Grapple with Financial Freedom, Retirement Planning

Singapore’s Platform Workers Grapple with Financial Freedom, Retirement Planning

by November 14, 2023

A recent study has revealed that platform workers in Singapore face a number of financial challenges, including low levels of financial freedom, difficulty meeting monthly savings targets, and a lack of retirement planning.

The ‘Financial Freedom for Platform Workers and the Self-Employed’ report, a collaborative effort between Singlife, PwC Singapore, and the Singapore Fintech Association, will be officially unveiled at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2023 (SFF 2023) on 15 November 2023.

The 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 of the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers in 2022.

It surveyed 500 platform workers in Singapore and carried out interviews with platform owners including Deliveroo, Foodpanda, Gojek, and Grab among others.

The study found that only 17% of respondents felt financially free compared to 29% of the average Singapore consumer in an earlier Singlife study.

When asked to rate their level of financial freedom on a scale from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating “Not Financially Free” and 100 signifying “Extremely Financially Free,” the average platform worker gave themselves a score of 50. This score was 10 points lower than the self-rating of the average Singaporean consumer.

Platform workers also rated their level of financial freedom lower than the average Singapore consumer, with an average score of 50 out of 100, compared to 60.

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.

Meanwhile the study highlighted some key insights from platform companies as they expressed support for the committee’s recommendations and agreed with the principle of mandating at-work injury coverage.

However, they raised concerns about the challenges in executing the recommendations and implementing the Workplace Injury Compensation Act (WICA) as-is.

Platform owners also acknowledged that mandating Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions in the platform industry could lead to increased operating costs and fewer job opportunities for platform workers.

They emphasised the need for investments in technology and operations, along with a sufficient testing and iteration period to ensure a smooth rollout of the committee’s recommendations.

Those interested in obtaining physical copies of the report can visit Singlife’s booth at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2023. Additionally, a digital version of the report is available for download here.

Varun Mittal

Varun Mittal

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 presenting key findings from the report during a keynote presentation at the SFF 2023 on 16 November 2023.

Wong Wanyi

Wong Wanyi

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.”