Asia Economy

The rising cost of living isn't the only reason many in Asia are putting off retirement, Randstad says

Key Points
  • Randstad's latest Workmonitor report found that only half of surveyed workers believe they can permanently leave the workforce before they turn 65, down from 61% last year. 
  • While 70% of workers surveyed said money worries are preventing them from enjoying their golden years, workers in Asia-Pacific are more likely to feel that work is a necessity in their lives.
  • That's because having a stable job allows them to "feel valued and respected" by their peers, said Sander van 't Noordende, the CEO of Randstad.
Workers surveyed in China are the least likely to retire as soon as possible — even "in an ideal world," Randstad said. And 3% of workers in Asia-Pacific never want to retire at all, which is the highest percentage out of all regions.
Edwin Tan | E+ | Getty Images

The cost of living crisis is delaying the retirement plans of working professionals worldwide, said recruitment agency Randstad.

But those in Asia will continue to work because for reasons beyond a paycheck, according its new report.

Its latest Workmonitor report found that only half of surveyed workers believe they can permanently leave the workforce before they turn 65, down from 61% last year.

"A faltering global economy, high inflation and diminishing government aid have many people reconsidering such a move," Randstad said. 

The annual report surveyed 35,000 people across 34 markets for their sentiments on the world of work. 

While 70% of workers surveyed said that money worries are preventing them from enjoying their golden years, workers in Asia-Pacific are more likely to feel that work is a necessity in their lives.

For example, 66% of those from India and 61% from China saw work as a "need" — almost twice the global average of 32%.

% who say they "need work" in their lives

Country % of respondents
India66
China61
Malaysia45
Singapore43
Japan34

Source: Randstad

"Whether for meaning and purpose, social interaction or to experience the challenges that come with a job, employment for many is more than just a paycheck," Randstad said. 

"It keeps them connected and gives them a sense of belonging."

Feeling valued and respected 

Workers also stay at their jobs because they "feel a sense of obligation to their employer," said Randstad. 

The report found that about one fifth, or 21%, of Asia-Pacific workers felt that their employer needing them would deter them from retiring, compared with 12% of the global population.

"There are cultural factors at play here with the role of work and education in people's lives," Sander van 't Noordende, the CEO of Randstad, told CNBC. 

Workers feel they "need" work in their lives because having a stable job allows them to "feel valued and respected" by their peers, he added. 

% who feel their employer "needs" them

Region %
Asia-Pacific21
North America12
Latin America7
Northwestern Europe10
Eastern Europe10
Southern Europe8

Source: Randstad

"However, the countries' booming economies and an exponential increase in demand for talent, both domestically and internationally, are also likely to contribute to this disparity compared to global counterparts." 

Asia is home to three out of five of the world's largest economies, which include China, Japan and India.

Workers in some Asian countries were also more likely to say that they consider work an "important part of their lives," van 't Noordende added. 

For example, 89% of workers in China consider this to be true and 90% of Indians agree — which is almost 20% higher than the global average, according to the report.

What it means for employers 

Regardless of where workers are located, they want "the whole package" from their employers, said van 't Noordende, which is secure, flexible, inclusive and financially stable work

"People want to feel like they belong at work and demand that their organization mirrors their own priorities in terms of things such as flexibility and good work-life balance," he added. 

"This is particularly true of the younger generations, who are seeking more satisfaction from work than a pay cheque alone provides." 

Talent scarcity is here to stay, warns Randstad CEO
VIDEO3:2603:26
Talent scarcity is here to stay, warns Randstad CEO

That's also crucial in Asia, where labor markets continue to be tight. Employers should therefore focus on how to attract and retain talent, said van 't Noordende. 

"It's becoming increasingly evident that workers are prepared to quit their jobs if they do not meet their demands. For example, over half of Asia-Pacific workers would quit a job if they felt like they didn't belong there." 

On top of that, talent scarcity will grow in the coming years in light of shifting demographics, added Randstad. 

"Companies should develop flexible roles that allow those near retirement age to slowly transition from full time to part time and then completely retire."