newstream

Singapore

Employers more cautious in awarding pay increases

Employers more cautious in awarding pay increases
Reuters file photo

Employers more cautious in awarding pay increases

SINGAPORE — Employees in the Republic may have to trim their expectations during their annual pay review, as a survey of salary trends in Asia showed that Singapore firms are adopting a more cautious outlook and cutting back on plans to award hefty pay increases.

Just 8 per cent of employers in Singapore this year said they will be giving pay increases of between 6 and 10 per cent, and only 3 per cent plan to award over 10 per cent increase in salaries, said the survey by recruiting firm Hays released on Tuesday (March 21). 

The outlook was slightly better last year, when 11 per cent of employers said they intended to provide raises of between 6 and 10 per cent, while 7 per cent said they would award salary increases of over 10 per cent.

“The economic outlook for 2017 is challenging, so it’s not surprising to see employers taking a moderate approach to salaries,” said Ms Lynne Roeder, managing director of Hays Singapore.

Overall, the findings show that fewer employers intend to give generous pay increases — that is, more than 3 per cent — this year, compared with last year.  

Some 46 per cent of Singapore employers are planning salary increases of 3 to 6 per cent during the next pay review, according to data collected by Hays. This compares with the 52 per cent of employers in last year’s review period.

While 34 per cent of Singapore employers will look to give up to 3 per cent in the next review period, only 28 per cent said they would do so in last year’s report. And while 9 per cent this year said they will award no increase, only 7 per cent said they would award no increase last year.

Compared with the aggregated results for the Asian economies surveyed, namely China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, employers in Singapore were more cautious. At the top end, 11 per cent of employers in China and 10 per cent of employers in Malaysia intend to award salary increases of more than 10 per cent during the next pay review, compared with only 3 per cent in Singapore.

In China, 45 per cent of employers plan to award salary increases of 6 to 10 per cent, while 27 per cent of employers in Malaysia intend to do so. This compares with only 8 per cent of employers in Singapore who intend to award similar pay increases during the next pay review. 

In the coming year, two out of three employers in Singapore intend to give bonuses to all employees. One in four said they would award bonuses to only some employees. 

The report also noted that Singapore’s financial services market is facing a tougher year ahead. “We expect Singapore’s economic conditions to result in many more accountants seeking jobs than there are positions available. Accordingly, salary levels in 2017 will remain flat for most accounting and finance professionals,” said Hays.

Due to a candidate shortage in audit, risk and compliance, however, salary increases are on the cards but not at the level they were a few years ago. In contrast, the fintech sector has remained buoyant and cyber security professionals are especially in high demand, the report said.

The findings are from the Hays Annual Salary Guide, now in its 10th year. The guide draws on research from more than 3,000 employers representing six million employees.