SINGAPORE (Oct 4): Joining Singapore’s rising gig economy certainly comes with benefits, such as flexibility and job satisfaction, that a regular nine-to-five desk job may not offer. Those who opt to do so are however finding it harder to save compared to full-time employees, finds a new study by Manulife.

According to the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index (MISI), Singaporeans are expecting to need an average of $1 million in savings to retire – with close to 40% of the 500 respondents, comprising both gig workers and regular employees, indicating a savings gap of over $0.5 million.

In particular, gig workers surveyed have a much wider average savings gap of $893,000 compared to regular jobbers ($576,000).

Nonetheless, the survey found that Singaporeans are generally optimistic about the opportunities provided by the gig economy with one in three surveyed being engaged in a gig economy job and almost half (49%) of those currently not in one having indicated interest to be part of the gig workforce.

Sixty-eight percent feel that gig jobs would give them the opportunity to be business owners, presumably due to the flexibility that the gig sector business model offers.

Manulife however highlights underlying worries among Singaporean respondents in gig jobs, who appear considerably less optimistic than their peers in terms of financial security.

Specifically, 61% of these gig workers expressed concerns about the unstable wage and the lack of protections, specifically in the areas of retirement (74), medical (71%) and income (71%). Further, 65% of respondents working gig jobs indicated the need to save more, as income is less certain.

Given the unpredictability of today’s landscape and the inadequacy of pension in ensuring a good retirement life, 70% of respondents will consider voluntarily subscribing to insurance or saving plans to secure an all-embracing retirement protection.

“We recognise the impact the gig economy has on employment and retirement planning, and remain committed to developing solutions that support our customers every step of the way, regardless of their vocation,” said Kwek-Perroy Li Choo, chief customer officer and chief transformation officer of Manulife Singapore.