- The Straits Times
Amid a slowing economy and fears about the coronavirus, employers in Singapore are mainly expecting to hand out a 3 per cent increment this year, according to a new report published by recruitment agency Hays.
The firm’s Asia Salary Guide 2020 polled 55,000 workers (of which 2,200 identified themselves as employers) across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, including 932 Singapore respondents (of which 354 identified themselves as employers).
The report found that Singapore employees were “realistic” about salary expectations for the coming year, with the majority expecting raises of between 3 and 6 per cent – the same figures quoted by the majority of employers polled.
Nearly one in five employers said they did not plan to give any increments.
The Hays report added that around 20 per cent of employee requests for raises had been rejected, with the percentage of local respondents who said they were “satisfied or very satisfied” with their pay packages sliding from 62 per cent last year to 59 per cent this year.
According to figures released by the Singapore Department of Statistics on Thursday (Feb 20), median household income from work grew 2.5 per cent per year (in real terms) over the past five years.
The median household income last year was around S$9,400, with the median monthly income per person at around $2,900.
25% pay raise for those in cybersecurity and cloud engineering
Of all Asian workers polled in Hays’ report, Singaporeans were most likely to stay in their current jobs due to work-life balance, with Hays attributing this to the country “having one of the most overworked populations in the world.”
Nevertheless, around 35 per cent of local workers polled were actively looking for a new job with higher pay, while another 50 per cent or so were open to the idea.
However, the report also found Singapore respondents were the least keen on upskilling among the Asian countries, with one quarter of respondents spending zero hours learning new skills outside of their jobs.
On the other hand, about half of all companies polled here said they did not have the talent needed to achieve their current business goals, and would hire expats for these roles.
This could lead to a large skills gap, the company warned. Its report found that Singapore had the highest percentage of foreign workers among companies polled – close to 30 per cent.
Unsurprisingly, those with tech skills were the most in demand, particularly workers with knowledge of programming languages, data science, AI and machine learning expertise, with the salaries of those in cybersecurity and cloud engineering in particular expected to rise 25 per cent this year.
The report added: “Thanks to the Singapore Government’s ‘Smart Nation’ initiative, 2020 will continue seeing an influx of fintech companies setting up their APAC headquarters in Singapore.”
“In return, high calibre candidates can expect to be offered attractive salaries and benefits that more traditional companies may not be willing or able to provide.”