, Singapore

Singapore’s delivery riders are highly satisfied with work but most are “excluded” in future policy talks

A new study reveals riders are not in favour of industry changes that could “potentially disrupt the autonomy they currently enjoy.”

Most delivery riders in Singapore reported high job satisfaction and financial security with their jobs but also revealed that they have not been consulted in dialogues regarding future policies.

According to a new survey from decision science solutions and advisory firm Blackbox Research, which had 175 delivery riders from Deliveroo, Foodpanda, and Grab, 99% strongly agreed that flexibility and independence as well financial support were some of the factors that appeal to them about their work.

99% of riders surveyed expressed job satisfaction, with 23% expressing strong satisfaction. 88% also believe that being a rider offers job security and financial security.

Insurance, upskilling, and career growth opportunities have also emerged as key wants for riders, but remain equally concerned about having these mandatorily imposed.

On upskilling, 82% of riders report that their work offers them “sufficient” opportunities for career growth, with 56% are keen to upskill, hoping to secure a better job in the future (46%), and improving their adaptability to work in other industries (44%).

Focus group insights that supported the survey reveal that riders are concerned about potential costs that could come with compulsory upskilling, whilst some remain uncertain on the expected career benefits.

Whilst three platforms offer personal accident insurance for their riders free of charge, 74% of riders have their own personal accident insurance plan. Additional focus group insights show that riders prefer to choose their own level of insurance.

45% of those surveyed are currently not contributing to their CPF (Central Provident Fund) Medisave account — a compulsory comprehensive savings and pension plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents — with 22% saying they would be compelled to do so if the government made it compulsory.

Focus group insights reveal that riders are concerned with the opportunity costs that come with mandatory CPF contributions, such as loss of savings and flexibility of cash flow.

44% of riders, meanwhile, said they would consider joining unions or associations, referred to interchangeably by riders. A key challenge riders faced was related to managing customer experiences.

Amongst those “neutral or opposed” to unionisation, sticking points cited include not wanting the responsibility of joining a union (52%), uncertainty about how a union could help them (31%), and not wanting to pay a union/subscription fee (30%).

75% believe their work is “often misunderstood” and 93% feel that the stress and challenges of their work are often “underestimated by members of the public”.

“We should recognise the current setup that riders have in making their own economic choice to enter and stay in the gig economy is important to them. We’ve seen questionable regulations in other countries, so it is important that policy makers in Singapore do not fall into the same trap,” Blackbox Research chief executive David Black said.

“Any welfare initiative that looks to implement benefits for this group needs to be mindful of negatively impacting what they value most, namely earnings, flexibility and control they have over how they work, which can push people away from the gig economy.”
 
Only 17% surveyed are also aware of any government grants and schemes available to delivery riders, with the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme being the only initiative that bears real name recognition (23%). Only 5% of respondents claim to have been approached to date to share their opinions on future policy formulation “as it might relate to gig work”.

“Moving forward, it would be beneficial for policymakers to connect with riders to not only clearly demonstrate the benefits of existing initiatives, but also involve them in the co-creation of policies, grants and schemes that are geared towards them. This will aid in the effectiveness, impact and take-up of such policies and programs,” Black concluded.

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