Skills Impact

Nearly all employers affected by skills shortages.

Skills Impact

Asia Pacific

New data from Hays has found 96 per cent of employers in Singapore still struggling to find the skilled individuals they need. The figures come from the Hays Salary Guide which draws from more than 3,000 employers across Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore representing six million employees as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.


The guide has found:

• 96 per cent of businesses in Singapore believe the skill shortage epidemic will impact their operations in the year ahead;

• 71 per cent of workers in Singapore plan to switch jobs this year for improved salary or benefit packages;

• 46 per cent of Singaporean employers plan salary increases from between three per cent – six per cent. 


“The ability to attract and retain the best talent always provides a company with a competitive advantage, but in 2017 with skill shortages persisting and significant changes and challenges on the horizon, it is more important than ever,” says Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia.

The skills shortage in Singapore has been well documented and as business operations are likely to be affected throughout the year, employers are encouraged to invest in the training and development of staff and to become more strategic in their talent management practices.

“Recruitment and retention of talented employees will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges facing employers this year, and heightens the need for a review of recruitment policies and procedures in the midst of a war for top talent,” adds Christine.

Like last year, there still seems to be disconnect in the salary expectations of Singaporean workers and what employers are offering. 11 per cent of employers will award more than 6 per cent increases, whereas 34 per cent of candidates surveyed in Singapore are expecting more than 6 per cent. On average, most employers in Singapore plan to award salary increases from between three to six per cent.


“Employers need to balance the need to remain competitive on salary to attract new talent while managing salary budget for existing staff carefully. While employees’ salary expectations are fairly modest in Singapore, tensions could arise if salaries for new hires move up too fast,” says Christine.

Across all Asian countries surveyed, 85 per cent of employers provide staff benefits in addition to salary and bonuses. Health/medical remains the most commonly offered benefit (79 per cent of employers) followed by life assurance (40 per cent), a car allowance (34 per cent), pension (31 per cent), housing allowance (26 per cent) and club or gym membership (16 per cent).
In the coming year, 66 per cent of employers in Singapore intend to award bonuses to all employees and 25 per cent to only some employees.

Across all Asian countries, bonuses were most commonly related to company performance (88 per cent) or individual performance (84 per cent). Only 10 per cent of staff bonuses were guaranteed. A further 34 per cent of bonuses were related to team performance.
Over the last 12 months, 36 per cent of employers in Singapore increased permanent staffing levels, 23 per cent decreased permanent headcount and 41 per cent kept permanent staffing levels unchanged.

In the year ahead, 32 per cent of employers in Singapore expect to increase permanent headcount, 15 per cent to decrease permanent staff levels and 53 per cent expect levels to remain unchanged.

Just over half of Singaporean employers (51 per cent) used temporary staffing in the last year. Of those employers, 65 per cent engaged contractors or temporary staff through a recruitment firm, 37 per cent engaged part time staff, 26 per cent hired casual employees and 14 per cent made use of job sharing arrangements. This year, 19 per cent of employers expect to increase their use of temporary staff.



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