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Teachers can be as fulfilled as Google employees in Singapore

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Tanglin Trust School ranks eighth in the Singapore’s Best Employers 2022 survey. Source: Tanglin Trust School

Can teachers be as professionally fulfilled as Google employees? One survey suggests the answer could be a yes.

Singapore’s Best Employers 2022, a recent independent employee survey conducted by The Straits Times and global data firm Statista, listed 200 of the most attractive employers to work for in Singapore. Google ranked first on the list, while Tanglin Trust School, a not-for-profit international school in Singapore, ranked eighth. 

Tanglin topped 192 companies and institutions with at least 200 employees. The British international school wasn’t only in the top 10 with Google, but it also topped the education category nationwide.

“At Tanglin, we always have the best interests of our staff at the forefront of our mind when formulating or making changes to staff policies,” said Tanglin Trust School CEO Craig Considine in a statement.

“Staff will perform at their best when they feel valued and supported, and we try hard to ensure that this is always the case.”

google employees and teachers satisfied

In the survey, employees anonymously rated their employers based on various aspects of their job, the work environment and the employer’s reputation. Source: Straits Times Graphics/Singapore’s Best Employers 2022

Are teachers at Tanglin as happy as Google employees?

According to The Straits Times, the list is the result of an online survey conducted in August and September last year. Over 17,000 employees were polled while more than 200,000 recommendations were evaluated for the survey.

Employers were primarily scored based on whether their employees would recommend them to a friend or family member.

The responses were graded on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means “I wouldn’t recommend my employer under any circumstances” and 10 means “I would definitely recommend my employer”.

The survey shows that Google employees are a happy bunch with a score of 9.16, while Tanglin received a score of 8.4. The lowest score on the list is seven.

Google has consistently been ranked among the top companies to work for in many surveys.

The company has won multiple Comparably awards, including Best Places To Work in Denver 2022, Best Places To Work in Austin 2022, Best Global Culture 2022, and Best Company Outlook 2022, to name a few. The company was also regularly featured in Fortune’s “The Best 100 Companies To Work For”; in 2017, it ranked first. 

Tanglin has also solidified its position as an attractive employer in Singapore and ensures its teachers feel valued and supported. This is echoed by its teachers.

James Russell, 46, a teacher who has worked at schools in England, Chile and Brunei, told The Straits Times that he was struck by the warm welcome he received compared to other relocation experiences he had.

“When I first arrived in Chile from England, I was taken to a small apartment that I’d had to locate myself. I was taken to a supermarket, but I didn’t speak a word of Spanish,” he was quoted saying.

“Whereas here, Tanglin helped us so much when we landed with stuff we needed: an iron, ironing board, crockery in the kitchen, things like that. I felt so valued. I felt like I had someone to turn to.”

He added that when COVID-19 travel restrictions eased, he and his family were able to fly home to visit. Tanglin “bent over backwards” to support them and other foreign staff by adjusting gazetted school holidays and buffering for delayed returns to Singapore.

During the pandemic, their staff took the initiative to send care packs to quarantined colleagues, setting up a spreadsheet with names, isolation dates, addresses and requests for assistance. They also volunteered to contribute food, books and board games to fill up these care packs, and deliver them to the quarantine locations, said the report.

Teaching in Singapore can be demanding

When the pandemic hit, the length of service for Singaporean teachers in both primary and secondary school declined, averaging between five to nine years, according to Statista’s 2020 data report.

It added that teaching in the country is demanding; many work long hours and deal with the dual stresses of both ensuring the academic performance of their students, as well as the ad hoc duties required of them for the extra-curricular activities.

Meanwhile, lockdowns in China prompted many teachers in the private and international sectors to leave the city. In the US, almost 550,000 teachers resigned from the private education sector between January and November. 

Tanglin, on the other hand, has an average staff tenure of 8.6 years. Its 300 foreign staff – a little over half of all employees — benefit from the school’s welcoming and supportive community.

“We actively seek feedback from our staff on current policies and implement changes where needed,” said Considine.

“We have support groups around certain initiatives – mental health, maternity, diversity and inclusion, menopause, etc. These are great vehicles for initiating conversations and understanding what works well and what could be improved upon.”