Singapore Jobs Forecast for 2018

Better outlook for job seekers

2018 looks better for job seekers

2018 brings a new year with better prospects for job hunters in Singapore. The economy is improving and confidence in it by employers will lead to greater hiring demands. According to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup Singapore, 16% of employers said that they are planning on increasing their staffing levels in 2018. However, 5% stated that they expect to decrease the number of staff, and 74% stated that they expect no change in staffing levels. This, according to the survey report, gives an 11% growth in the net employment outlook, even when adjusted for seasonal variations. This is good news for job seekers and is the strongest outlook in 2 years, up from 7% for the same period last year.

So where will the job increases be?

The strongest expected staffing level increases will be in the public sector and education with a 22% growth. In the services industry, IT is again looking at strong growth with increasing demand for cyber security specialists, digital applications, data mining and analytics, software applications and software development. Anything to do with helping businesses increase their online presence and market or sell through smart devices will be in strong demand. The government’s focus on Singapore as a Smart Nation is also driving demand for specialist labour in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), especially for software engineers, data scientists, and IoT (Internet of Things) specialists.

The transport and utilities industries are also said to expand in 2018.

Other than in FinTech (finance focused technologies) related jobs, the financial industry is only expected to have a moderate increase in staffing levels. Here, as well as real estate and the wholesale and retail trade sectors, employers seem to be adopting a ‘wait and see’ policy in relation to the economy – if the economy expands more than expected, then they will be hiring. If not, they are not expecting any changes in hiring.

Retrenchments are slowing

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report for the third quarter of 2017 shows that retrenchments are slowing. There were 3400 retrenchments in Q3 2017, down 6.6% from 3640 in Q2 2017, and down 19.4% from a year ago when retrenchments were 4220 in Q3 2016. The slowdown is mainly attributed to the services and manufacturing sectors.

But PMETs hit hard again

Unfortunately, around 70% of retrenchments hit PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), with most retrenchments being in the services industry (always very vulnerable to shifts in confidence in the economy). Fortunately the government has placed great emphasis on helping retrenched PMETs find new jobs with financial incentives for employers to employ them, and many up-skilling and re-skilling initiatives.

More good news for those retrenched

The good news from the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Market Report for Q3 for those retrenched is that the six-month re-entry rate is up 1.9 percentage points to 66.4% over Q2, and up 2 percentage points over Q1. This can be attributed to the improving economy and the government’s initiatives.

Overall, job seekers can expect an improvement in hiring in 2018.

Skills Needed for the Future in Singapore

Creativity and people related skills will be in demand in the future

The Changing Economy and its Effect on Jobs

Singapore’s economy and its structure are changing and this is having a major effect on the labour market. Already we see banks and other financial institutions moving jobs to cheaper labour markets such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and China, while other jobs in the financial industry are being replaced by technology. Similar movements are taking place in other historically core industries such as shipping, oil, energy and engineering. So called “traditional” jobs are being lost and mid-career and above PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) are the majority losers – an estimated 60% to 70% of retrenchments are mid-career and above professionals.

Fortunately the government has taken strong measures to protect and support mid-career PMETs, and there are many initiatives in place to facilitate the retraining and upskilling of such workers. But what skills will be in demand in Singapore the future?

A New Industrial Revolution

There is much talk about the world having entered the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” – but this is perhaps misnamed as it is a technological revolution rather than an industrial one – and researchers and other analysts are looking at the impact this transformation is having and will continue to have on the world of work.

The changing face of industry in Singapore is seeing advances and expansion in research and development, e-commerce, and other digital businesses. This is evidenced by the number of companies that have their R&D centres here and the growing number of e-marketplaces such as Lazada and Amazon building their regional hubs in Singapore. Another strong focus now is to take advantage of new technologies such as IoT (the Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), quantum computing, biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and renewable energy.

Examples of these developments that we already see in use are the advances in medicine and medical technologies such as ‘nanocarriers’ of chemotherapy drugs that affect only the targeted cells; absorbable heart stents; ‘nanoagriculture’ increasing the production of crops and livestock; self-driving cars; and the growth of data analytics.

Skills for the Future

So with all these changes in technology and the world of work, what skills are not in danger of being replaced by robots or other technologies? What skills are needed in Singapore for 2020 and beyond?

The skills needed for the future can be categorised as creativity related skills and people related skills.

Creativity related skills include creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity and innovative thinking. Creative problem-solving seeks to look at situations from different perspectives to build a fuller understanding of it before looking for novel solutions. Only humans can create ideas out of nothing – technology cannot. Creativity skills are and will always be needed and in demand. Education systems globally result in people using only logical analysis in the search for solutions to complex problems and most people therefore have underutilised intuitive and creative potential – training can help remedy this.

Technology / robots will increasingly be able to analyse complex data but still only from a logical perspective – there is no indication that technology will replace intuition which is a purely human function. Similarly, technology and robots will increasingly develop even more complex mathematical skills but will not be able to master the human intuitive side of making connections and seeing relationships between seemingly random events, nor will they make insightful interpretations of them.

People related skills include the ability to manage people, empathise with them, lead them, build teams, communicate across teams and the ability to coordinate and collaborate with people. Technology and robots cannot do these. Neither can technology provide a customer service orientation to business. These human, people focused skills will always be in demand.

To safeguard your future in work, make sure that you develop creativity and people related skills.

The Changing Jobs Focus for Foreigners in Singapore

Singapore jobs are still very attractive to foreigners

A report in People Management Asia, an online magazine published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) that focuses on Human Resources issues in East and South East Asia, highlights some of the changes that are taking place in the foreign labour market in Singapore (You can read the article here). Traditionally, the greatest number of expats working in Singapore were employed by banks and other financial services – these jobs were those directly involved in financial services as well as those supporting these services such as IT specialists and others in technology development.

What we see now is that, driven by high costs and other restrictions, the banks and other financial institutions are moving many jobs to lower labour cost countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and China. They are also developing their strategic and operational interests in these countries.

In spite of this, however, the number of foreigners working in Singapore continues to rise. The Ministry of Manpower’s (MoM) website shows that the Total Foreign Workforce (excluding foreign domestic workers and construction workers) in December 2014 was 764,500. This rose to 780,300 in December 2015, and to 787,800 in December 2016 – the number at the end of June 2017 might suggest a slowdown as the numbers dropped slightly to 787,000. You can read about the full breakdown of the types of employment passes and work passes that these foreigners are working on in Singapore on MoM’s website here.

So if certain jobs in the financial services sector are decreasing, what types of jobs are these foreigners doing? Well, not all parts of the financial services sector are affected as there is a continuing increase in financial technology jobs and in its associated Research and Development (R & D). The CIPD report suggests that the trend is increasingly changing to technical areas in other industries and to R & D in “sectors ranging from financial technology to renewable energy and life sciences”.

Government policy is also having an effect on the type and level of jobs that foreigners in Singapore are doing. Previously, many of the jobs that foreigners held were at junior to mid-level. Now, with the governments push to hire more local PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians), especially older PMETs, many of these jobs are increasingly held by locals. MoM and other government ministries provide a range of generous incentives for companies to hire, train or retrain local PMETs.

Jobs at a senior level are the only ones to buck this trend and there is still a high demand for these.

Another changing trend for foreigners is in the type of remuneration packages that they are being offered. The traditional expat package that included high housing allowances and paid school fees for their children is not automatic for foreigners coming to work in Singapore anymore. More and more work contracts are now only being offered on local terms, but because of Singapore’s low personal tax rates, these contracts are still attractive.

The average monthly salaries for fresh graduates in Singapore

The Graduate Employment Survey results help fresh graduates negotiate a realistic salary

Each year, the Ministry of Education publishes the Graduate Employment Survey for each of Singapore’s universities: National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). The university of the Singapore Institute of Management (UniSIM), which has been renamed Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), will be included in future years.

The survey gathers data from the previous year’s graduates for each faculty (with extensive data on each faculties courses) on the overall employment rate, full-time employment rate, basic monthly salary (mean and median), gross monthly salary (mean and median), and the 25th and 75th percentile for the gross monthly salary.

The survey results for each year are available on the Ministry of Education’s website (for NUS click here) (Google “Graduate Employment Survey” for other universities) – all are also available on the governments data and statistics website (click here).

The Ministry of Manpower also publishes this information in graphical format – click here.

Importance of this information during the job search

This information is important for fresh graduates to have to hand during their job search process, especially at interview. One of the strongest complaints that hiring managers have is the unrealistic salary expectations of fresh graduates and this marks them as uninformed – i.e. they did not do their research before the interview. Most hiring managers will not hire a candidate they deem as uninformed. Unrealistic expectations is also one of the reasons that a minority of graduates are not yet employed more than six months after graduation.

Armed with the most recent information on salaries for graduates from their university and course, fresh graduates can make realistic salary demands that will neither rule them out of the competition for being too high, nor be unfair to themselves by requesting too low a salary. Knowing the mean and medium salary bands, and the 75th percentile, for the previous year’s graduates allows them to negotiate a fair salary for themselves.

So what does the survey results show?

The main good news in the survey results is the fact that nearly 90% of the 2016 fresh graduates have secured a job within six months (the figure is highest for SMU graduates at 93.8%), proving that the vast majority of graduates express more realistic expectations to employers in terms of the salary and other conditions they are looking for.

The results also show that there has been a decrease of nearly 3% in the number of those securing permanent full-time jobs at 80.2% (down from 83.1% in 2015), but this is largely offset by the increase in numbers of those going freelance or into the ‘gig economy’, a recent trend demonstrated throughout the labour market in general.

The survey also revealed that the mean gross monthly salary for 2016 graduates who secured permanent full-time jobs rose to SGD $3515 from $3468 for the previous year’s graduates – a rise of 1.36%. As in previous years, SMU graduates in permanent full-time jobs secured a higher mean gross monthly salary of $3722.

But still do your research

Fresh graduates should not just rely on the summary data on graduate pay published by the newspapers and other sources – this provides a too general data to be useful in the job search. Instead they should go to the Ministry of Education’s website (Google “Graduate Employment Survey” for the relevant year) and look at the individual results for their university by faculty and specific degree. It is here that they will find the mean and median basic and gross monthly salaries, and the 75th percentile, from the previous year that they can use to realistically negotiate a fair salary for themselves.

Singapore Labour Market – changes in demand for expats

Trends are changing in expat jobs in Singapore

Singapore had a foreign workforce (excluding domestic helpers and construction workers) of around 790,000 at the end of 2016. Traditionally, the various financial services account for the largest number of these, but with the banking sector continuing to outplace and downsize, this trend is changing. The change is being influenced by higher labour and operating costs, as well as technological disruption. It seems that artificial intelligence and other technological innovations are somewhat replacing the need for humans in the banking sector!

So where are the ‘in demand’ expat jobs in Singapore? In an article in People Management Asia published by the chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) (you can read the article here), Nilay Khandelwal, director of Michael Page Singapore, says that “demand has been increasing in technical fields and the R&D environment in sectors ranging from financial technology to renewable energy and life sciences”.

Recent changes in the EntrePass scheme reflect this trend. The EntrePass scheme offers visas to entrepreneurs setting up a company in Singapore and particularly wants to attract hi-tech and scientific start-ups. The Singapore government has relaxed some of the conditions required to get an EntrePass, including greater flexibility in the financial requirements, to make it easier for people of talent to qualify. People with technological and scientific skills can now qualify based on these skills.

Nilay Khandelwal also noted that the government’s policy of measures to help local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to get jobs is having an effect on expat hiring trends. This has resulted in a reduction in demand for junior to mid-level expats. It will be increasingly difficult for foreigners to secure these junior to mid-level positions unless they have skills that the local workforce doesn’t possess.

This assumes, of course, that they know how to make these skills stand out in their resumes when applying for jobs in Singapore. Unfortunately many resumes from foreigners fail to sufficiently highlight their unique skillset to potential employers. To even get noticed or have their resume fully read, applicants, particularly foreign ones, need to have a properly focused resume. No longer will the old style CV or generic resume get an interview.

Another change in the demand for expats in Singapore according to Khandelwal, is that more expats are being hired on local contracts as opposed to the lucrative expat packages that were previously the norm. The days when expats could expect generous housing allowances, paid school fees, top class international health insurance, car allowance, etc, are quickly passing. There are, of course, still many expats on these packages, but they are becoming less and less. Foreigners looking for jobs in Singapore must have reasonable expectations. Nevertheless, Singapore is still quite competitive in attracting foreign talent in that the income tax rate is much lower than in most Western countries.


Singapore Is Good At Attracting, Growing and Retaining Talent

We all know that attracting and managing talent is very important.

This also recognized by the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017 , published by INSEAD and Adecco, which provides insights into countries that are the best at attracting, growing and retaining talent.

It also looks at how these efforts are translated into output.

The top 10 countries in the ranking are:

  • Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Sweden
  • Australlia
  • Luxembourg
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Norway

Switzerland, a regular in lists of global leaders, offers an attractive economic environment and excels at keeping domestically developed talent in the country.

Singapore, though, which came in at second place, received a great deal of attention in this year’s report because of the way it approaches the development of its talent while technology changes.

Singapore approaches talent management with ecosystem-wide initiatives that are developed/executed (often jointly) by government agencies such as the Ministry of Manpower, the Infocomm Development Agency and the Workforce Development Agency.

As a result, Singapore has found a variety of benefits:

  • It has been able to decrease its reliance on foreign labor and employees.
  • Businesses in Singapore have found ways to use automation to enhance productivity rather than replacing employees.
  • Automation has pulled in smart technology in a variety of sectors. In the cleaning and service sector, for example, robots have been used to clean floors or fold napkins, and this allows hotel staff to focus on jobs that can’t be performed by automation.
  • The government has launched a variety of initiatives, such as the Lean Enterprise Development Scheme, which works with many different partner agencies to provide small businesses with the funding and resources needed to use technology to support their workers.

Singapore’s education system also fits well into the framework.

In the most recent PISA (Program For International Student Assessment), more than half a million 15-year-olds from 72 countries took a two-hour exam.  The assessment puts Singapore at the top — ranked first in science, math and reading.

The country sources and develops high quality teachers, providing each student with a world-class education. Students learn things like coding when they are young and teachers get up to 100 hours of training each year.

The index did note that Singapore could improve in the access to growth opportunities and innovation, along with the tolerance of immigrants.

New Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index

This year’s report also narrows down the best cities within the indexed countries, as most people look to move to highest-rated cities first. This year’s top 10 are spread throughout many European countries, along with two U.S. cities.

  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • San Francisco, United States
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Paris, France
  • Eindhoven, Netherlands
  • Los Angeles, United States
  • Dublin, Ireland

The top three offer a high performance in quality-of-life, physical and information infrastructures, and solid international relationships.

For more information on the index, criteria used and other qualitative insights, have a look at these videos.

Deutsche Bank Cuts Bonuses Substantially

In light of the bank’s performance and the USD 7.2 billion settlement with U.S. authorities, Deutsche bank announced that it will be making drastic cuts to bonuses employees will receive this year.

“Now that we have a clearer idea of the financial impact of the settlement with the US Department of Justice and our performance for the year, we feel that tough measures are unavoidable,” Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan said in a message to employees.

Approximately 33% of the bank’s 100,000 employees will be impacted by the decision to reduce/eliminate bonuses.

The management board will not receive any bonus and staff with titles of VP, director and MD will not see a bonus but will get a retention package.

The retention package will be in the form of  deferred share and cash awards, which will be cancelled if Deutsche Bank’s stock price does not increase by 30% over the coming 3 to 4 years.

1,400 CEOs Share Expectations For The Economy And Jobs In 2017

PWC released their survey of around 1,400 CEOs from 79 countries, which aims to gauge their expectations for growth of their company and as well as the economy.

For 2017, 38% (35% in 2016) of the CEOs are confident about their organisation’s growth prospects and 29% (27% in 2016) are of the opinion that global economic growth will see an uptick.

ceo job and economic growth 2017

The leaders expressed concern over a number of issues, including over-regulation (80%), economic uncertainty (82%), availability of key skills (77%) and protectionism (59%).

As per Bob Moritz, PWC’s Global Chairman:

“Despite a tumultuous 2016, CEO confidence is moving back up – albeit slowly and still a long way from the levels we saw back in 2007. But there are signs of optimism right across the globe, including in the UK and US, where despite predictions of a Trump slump and a Brexit exit, CEOs confidence in their company’s growth are up from 2016. “

77% of CEOs are also worried about the availability of talent which matches the skills their business needs. This issue is the most pressing for leaders in Africa (80%) and Asia Pacific (82%).

leader concerns business 2017

52% of CEOs plan to increase headcount in 2017, while 16% are looking to reduce the number of people employed. Leaders in India (67%), Canada (64%), UK (63%) and China (60%) report the biggest hiring plans.

The industries where the most hires are expected are Asset Management (64%), Healthcare (64%) and Technology (59%).

For detailed information on the survey results and CEO interviews, take a look here.

Facebook Tops The List Of Most Empathetic Firms In 2016

Due to continued economic uncertainty around the world, empathy has never been in such high demand.

As the 2016 Empathy Index shows, empathy is more important to a successful business than it has ever been before. In today’s business world, empathy strongly correlates to growth, productivity, and earnings per employee.

The annual Empathy Index seeks to answer this question: Which companies are successfully creating and fostering empathetic cultures, and which are not?

Companies that create strong empathetic cultures are ones that retain the nicest people, create environments where diverse and open-minded teams thrive, and ultimately reap the greatest financial rewards.


Empathy was down into five categories: ethics, leadership, company culture, brand perception and public messaging through social media.

Some of the metrics used, which are publicly available, include CEO approval ratings from employees, gender ratio on boards, and the number of accounting infractions and other scandals. This year, a new metric was added: carbon, or how environmentally conscious the company is.

The financial information came from S&P Capital IQ, and the employee information came from The study also analyzed over 2 million tweets from Sept. 27 to Oct. 16, 2016. In a new source of qualitative data added this year, the leaders of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders were asked to rate the companies’ morality.

The Empathy Index focuses on global companies. Unfortunately, due to a lack of public information, it was not possible to include companies from China in the survey.


The top 10 companies in the Empathy Index 2015 increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10. They also generated 50 percent more earnings than the bottom 10, as defined by market capitalization. A strong 80 percent correlation was found between departments with higher empathetic value and those with high performers.

The Index results found empathy is correlated with ethics, and any ethical failure on a company’s part can prove costly. This is best reflected by the Deutsche Bank’s sharp drop from 40th place in the 2015 Index to the 110th place in this year’s Index, and Wells Fargo plummeting from 20th place in 2015 to 130th place in 2016. Both of these falls from grace come in light of the two banks’ recent scandals and poor brand perception.

Meanwhile, the tech sector continues to lead the ranking in high empathetic value, now accounting for an even greater share of the top 10 with 60% value in 2016 compared to last year’s 50% value. Facebook usurped Microsoft as the number one most empathetic tech company, owing to its focus on improving its internal culture and the introduction of the Empathy Lab.

ranking of best most empathetic companies

Ranking Of The Best Universities For Landing A Job

A new global ranking shows which universities are the best for getting a job after graduation. QS, a group of global higher education analysts, has put together its first graduate employability index. The index aims to measure how appealing a university’s graduates are to employers.

The Results

QS examined data from over 300 universities around the world, comparing their performance on five key employment indicators.

Their data shows that Stanford University is the number one university for getting a job, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology coming in second.

Though this is a global rankings list, the U.S. has an incredibly strong presence, with five colleges in the top 10 and 10 colleges in the top 20. Making up the rest of the top 20 are three universities each from the U.K. and China, two from Australia, and one each from France and Hong Kong.

Why Is This Study Important?

Employment prospects have never been so crucial to students deciding where they want to study for the next four years. With student debt at record high levels and a global economy still struggling to recover from the recession that began in 2008, there is a powerful incentive to start earning as much as possible and as soon as possible after graduation.

On top of that, college is becoming increasingly more accessible to young people around the world, meaning that young people are going to college more than ever before. As a result, competition for employment after graduation is fiercer than in previous years.

According to Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, the global ranking data shows that universities with a strong focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) scored higher on the employability index.

However, Sowter said the rankings were not solely because of STEM graduates being more employable than non-STEM graduates. The employment rate was only one of the five indicators used to compile the rankings. He also added that the employment rate was not broken down by subject.

According to QS, the top 10 global universities ranked on employability are:

  1. Stanford University (U.S.)
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.)
  3. Tsinghua University (China)
  4. The University of Sydney (Austalia)
  5. University of Cambridge (U.K.)
  6. Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech (France)
  7. Columbia University (U.S.)
  8. University of Oxford (U.K.)
  9. University of California, Berkeley (U.S.)
  10. Princeton University (U.S.)

The full rankings can be found here.

As well as post-graduate employment rates, universities were also assessed on employer reputation, partnerships with employers, employer-student connections and alumni outcomes. All of these factors went into the overall ranking.

Chicago University (23rd overall) was the highest-placed U.S. institution solely on graduate employment rate. The category was topped by South Korea’s Sungkyunkwan University. Australian universities also did well in this particular metric, with five in the top 20, reflecting a currently buoyant domestic economy. South Korea and Mexico both had two universities in the top 20 based on post-grad employment rate.

“As the global employment market changes in unprecedented ways, students are increasingly emphasizing the link between their university choice and their future career,” said Sowter. “We’re confident that the insights provided by this ranking will prove invaluable in allowing them to do so.”


While employability should figure prominently in every student’s considerations for where they’ll go to college, it should not be the only factor. When deciding where they will want to spend the next four years of their life, students will need more than just the prospect of finding a job after graduation to get them through those next four years.

Other equally important factors, like academic quality/style and reputation, affordability, and whether or not they can see themselves being happy and comfortable at the university, should be considered when deciding where to go.

More Leave For New Parents In Singapore

The Singapore Parliament recently passed some changes to the Child Development Co-Savings Act that offers more time off for parents, whether they are adopting a child or having one the old fashioned way.

This time off is not just for mothers of newborns, but also includes more paternity leave for fathers. It has the intent of providing the necessary support for new parents during the time when they should be learning the ropes of caring for their child and bonding as a family unit, rather than worrying about going back to work.

Changes to Child Development Co-Savings Act

  • All mothers will be given up to 16 weeks of leave after the birth of their child. It does not matter if they are married or single. This goes into effect on 1 January 2017.
  • Mothers that adopt children will get an increase in the amount of paid leave starting next July. Previously, they had received four weeks of leave, but they will now receive up to 12 weeks of adoption leave.
  • All fathers of newborns are going to be granted a paternity leave that doubles the previous amount of time off, from one week to two weeks, starting in the new year.
  • Mothers will also have the option of gifting a portion of their maternity leave to their husbands starting in July 2017, as well. They can give up to four weeks of their total 16 that they receive under the act, to increase their husband’s paternity leave time off.

Benefits of Changes to Leave

One of the biggest benefits of this change is for fathers. These changes will allow new fathers to have up to eight weeks off during the first year of being a new parent. They can have the two weeks of paternity leave that this change enables them to have, as well as the four weeks that they can share with their wife. This combines with the paid childcare leave that gives them six days off and unpaid infant care leave that lasts for a week.


Ranking of The Best CEOs In The World

Harvard Business Review posted its latest list ranking of the top 100 CEOs in the World that have the best performance in the long term.

This list doesn’t focus on short-term returns but examines the CEOs that have provided their respective companies with the best returns over time.

Top Three Spots

The coveted top spot on the list goes to the CEO of Novo Nordisk, a company in Denmark that produces medications, Lars Sørensen.

Second on the list is Martin Sorrell, who is the CEO of WPP, which is an advertising firm in the United Kingdom.

The third spot goes to Inditex’s CEO, Pablo Isla, who heads this Spanish-based fashion retailer.


Before the Harvard Business Review changed the way that it ranked this list, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Internet powerhouse Amazon, had been in the top spot. However, since HBR changed its criteria to add in ESG, or the environmental, social and governance factors, he dropped down to the 87 spot in 2015.

In 2016, Bezos moved up the ranks to 76. When it comes to just the financial aspects of this ranking, Bezos still leads the pack of CEOs as he has done so for three years running. The thing is that Harvard Business Review has determined that these additional metrics add value to long-term performance.

Compilation Method

The list was compiled by HBR examining the CEOs of companies ranked on the S&P Global 1,200.

The rankings were calculated using the returns that shareholders received overall, along with the market capitalization that happened under the CEO’s career at that company.

Also factored in were the ratings of the ESG performance.

Additional Interesting Statistics

There are a few additional statistics that can be drawn from this list.

  • It is interesting to note that being on this list doesn’t guarantee being able to keep a CEO position. Lars Sørensen will be retiring in December, ahead of when he was expected to retire, after Novo Nordisk’s stock dipped by almost 20 percent back in August.
  • Of the 100 CEOs on this list, there are 22 nationalities represented, with the companies based in 19 different countries.
  • There were only two women on this list this year, Ventas’ Debra Cafaro and Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson. Only three percent of the 886 companies that HBR studied to create this list have female executives in charge.