Despite an increasingly stronger economy in Singapore in 2018, many employers are planning to take a conservative line on salaries with almost half planning increases of only 3 to 6 per cent, according to recruiting experts Hays. The Hays Asia Salary Guide includes salary and recruiting trends for Singapore, but also Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. It is based on a survey of more than 3,000 employers, representing over six million employees.
“Our Guide shows that most companies in Singapore are taking a conservative approach to salary increases for the most part, but are more than willing to go well above the average when hiring those with niche skills and in areas of skill shortage,” said Lynne Roeder, Managing Director of Hays in Singapore. “For example, specialised roles in some areas of sales, IT and accountancy & finance are experiencing skill shortages and thus commanding substantial salary increases,” she said. “Candidates are advised to do their homework on what their job role and industry is paying before deciding to move job roles in search of a higher salary.”
“For employers, communicating to staff about the process behind salary increases will be even more important in 2018, particularly if the economy continues to show the strong improvements we seen in 2017 and likely to see in 2018, creating the perception that there should be more budget for salary increases,” said Lynne.
The 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide shows that most employers in Singapore (46 per cent) awarded salary increases from between 3 to 6 per cent during their last review period. A further 13 per cent of employers increased salaries by more than six per cent, 33 per cent of employers increased salaries by up to three per cent and eight per cent gave no increases at all. Looking ahead, 49 per cent of employers will increase salaries by 3 to 6 per cent in their next review while 14 per cent plan increases of more than 6 per cent. 32 per cent plan salary increases of up to three per cent and five per cent will offer no salary increases at all.
How Singapore compares
The 2018 Guide shows employers in China are again the most generous when it comes to salary increases with 51 per cent planning increases of more than six per cent in 2018 and 35 per cent intending to increase salaries from between 3 and 6 per cent. 9 per cent expect to award increases of up to three per cent and five per cent will offer no salary increase.
In Malaysia, 49 per cent of salary reviews will result in an increase from between 3 to 6 per cent and 39 per cent will offer more than six per cent. Three per cent of employers plan no increases and eight per cent modest increases of up to three per cent.
In Japan, 60 per cent of employers plan salary increases of only up to three per cent in their next review and 12 per cent plan no increases at all. Only 18 per cent will award increases from between 3 to 6 per cent while a modest ten per cent plan increases of more than six per cent.
49 per cent of employers in Hong Kong will increase salaries from between 3 to 6 per cent, five per cent will offer no salary increase, 24 per cent will increase salaries up to three per cent and 22 per cent will increase salaries by more than six per cent.
The majority of employers in Singapore (89 per cent) award staff benefits against the average 83 per cent reported for all five markets surveyed. The most popular benefit in Singapore by far is ‘health/medical’ benefits nominated by 93 per cent of employers. Next up was ‘car/car allowance’ (43 per cent) and ‘life assurance’ for workers (36 per cent).
In 2018, 53 per cent of employers in Singapore plan to award bonuses to more than 50 per cent of staff, a five per cent decrease from the figure reported last year. Most of our Singapore respondents said bonuses would be based on ‘individual performance’ (89 per cent) and ‘company performance’ (87 per cent). 32 per cent cited ‘team performance’.
Candidate salary expectations
Of the candidates surveyed in Singapore, 54 per cent are unhappy with their current level of compensation, but 64 per cent did not ask for a pay rise during their last review.
The largest proportion of candidate respondents in Singapore (36 per cent) expect a pay rise of more than six per cent while 30 per cent expect a salary increase of between 3 to 6 per cent.