Singapore blazing the mobile workforce trail: EIU study
By Benjamin Cher May 10, 2016
- Tangible effects for companies include innovation as well as loyalty
- GenMobile is not just the millennials but cuts across all age groups
THERE is a big difference between companies that can considered mobile ‘pioneers’ versus those that are not, according to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study commissioned by Aruba Networks.
And out of the small selection of countries the study covered, Singapore is pretty much blazing the trail.
READ ALSO: Malaysians get with the mobility programme, Malaysian SMEs way behind
The EIU study surveyed over 1,800 employees from nine countries, the others being Australia, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Six out of 10 respondents in Singapore described their employers as ‘pioneers’ or ‘good at using mobile technology’ – more than any other country in the survey.
Two-thirds of Singapore employers support the use of mobile chat apps such as WhatsApp for work purposes, while 40% ensure that company documents are accessible on mobile devices, which makes Singapore a leader on these two fronts.
“Singapore led globally in terms of how companies were predisposed to mobility, which is good news for the region,” said Aruba marketing vice president Chris Kozup.
“We see in Singapore there is a lot of forward-leaning in terms of mobile technology, especially WhatsApp,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore.
Singapore did however lag behind in terms of digital collaboration tools, with only 33% of employers supporting voice or video collaboration tools on mobile, and only 33% supporting digital collaboration tools such as Slack.
The EIU study, which looked at the benefits of going mobile, found that there is an impact between mobile ‘pioneers’ and those that are ‘adequate or bad’ at adopting mobile technology.
Employees at ‘pioneers’ scored their organisations higher for satisfaction (7.3 versus 6.2), creativity (7.1 versus 6.2), productivity (7.7 versus 7.1) and Loyalty (7.9 versus 6.8) compared with employees at ‘adequate or bad’ organisations,
Companies need to engage with the mobile generation – or GenMobile as Aruba defines it – which are not merely millennials, according to Kozup (pic).
“They need to be thinking around how to embrace this GenMobile which is not defined by age,” he said.
“It is not just millennials – this is across different age groups that are actively using this technology, and employers need to embrace these people in order to remain competitive in the marketplace,” he added.
This is also important to attract and retain the GenMobile workforce, an issue that cannot be left to the IT department or chief information officer (CIO) alone – all the other departments have to play a role, as well as the other members of the C-suite, Aruba argued.
This requires a comprehensive mobile strategy, of which the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend is not the be-all or end-all, according to Kozup.
“There has been a lot of buzz around BYOD or choose your own device (CYOD), but that’s really only one part of the agenda that the CIO needs to be thinking about in terms of a broader mobility strategy,” he said.
An understanding of the work dynamics of employees would be crucial in crafting IT policies to enable flexibility, while ensuring security.
“How you enable them to work anywhere, anytime – which isn’t to say that they can work anywhere and at any time – but there needs to be policies around that,” said Kozup.
“The business should have a policy or framework to determine when it is appropriate for the business and when specific policies or parameters apply,” he added.
This would leave organisations in a better position to compete in the global war for talent, and other departments need to be aware.
“These are messages that extend beyond IT, this is something that HR (human resources) and the C-suite need to understand and hear to make sure they are competitive in the marketplace,” said Kozup.
“Let’s face it – we’re in a war for talent in locations like Singapore, and looking at some of these things are becoming relevant,” he added.
The EIU study covered only developed countries, where respondents already own a smartphone and mobility is already pervasive. But that does not mean emerging markets are behind.
Indeed, they are primed for mobility, according to Justin Chiah (pic), Aruba general manager of South-East Asia and Taiwan.
“I’ll say there would be fewer hang-ups in these countries – they are ripe from a digitisation perspective, they are already there,” he said.
“What they are challenged with is the ability to get the right talent to move into that space,” he added.
Many factors make it possible for companies in emerging markets to outpace those in developed countries, according to Chiah.
“They have less of an installed base, it’s a greenfield – it is easier for them to adapt to these new technologies,” he said, adding that another key factor was the younger population in such countries.
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