Employees In Singapore Are Less Engaged

A recent survey of over 5 million employee responses showed that less than 25 percent of employees consider themselves to be highly engaged in their company.

The report, “2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement,” by Aon Hewitt, covered over 60 industries and showed overall engagement (highly engaged + moderately engaged) scores in the 60 percent range.

Both Singapore and Malaysia fell to below 60 percent for employee engagement. Singapore had a four- point decrease year on year.

Other APAC countries are slightly higher, but are all under 70 percent. India leads the pack at 69 percent, China is at 67 percent, Thailand and the Philippines are tied at 65 percent, with Indonesia rounding out the mix at 61 percent.

employee engagement in singapore 2017

In particular, millennials feel the most disengagement, particularly when surveyed about their companies’ methods to attract talent, promote employees and retain staff. Millennials also rated low on feeling their companies were giving them the appropriate resources to do their jobs.

According to Stephen Hickey, a Partner at Aon Hewitt APAC, “As organisations strive to fuel growth, they must understand how their workforce productivity and pay programmes—both fixed and variable, compare to market. They must educate their people on how they implement pay for performance and recognise top contributors using a blend of financial and non-financial rewards such as development opportunities.”

Aon Hewitt found that there are regional variations in engagement, driven by cultural differences, regional political climate, and local economics. However, some things are universal: colleague recognition and fairness in reward programs is increasingly important in engaging a workforce.

Highest-performing employees are also the most engaged, and there are definitely financial benefits to having engaged employees. Companies with engaged employees outperform other companies by 202 percent and have lower absenteeism. In fact, companies that increase investments in employee engagement by 10 percent reap a reward of higher productivity by $2,400 per employee per year.

Majority of People in Asia Prefer to Work For Multinational Firms

A recent research report found that a majority of people in Asia prefer to work for multinational corporations (MNCs).

Although there is quite a bit of attention on creative and groundbreaking startups, as well as small to medium enterprises (SMEs), a report by Randstad Workmonitor found that:

  • 84 percent of Malaysian employees prefer working for a larger MNC. 60 percent wanted to work in startups and 70 percent in small to medium enterprises.
  • This trend occurs in other Asian countries as well.
  • Among Singaporean workers, 73 percent of respondents want to work for multinational corporations with 57 percent preferring startups and 63 percent preferring SMEs.
  • Hong Kong workers showed equal numbers preferring multinational corporations and small to medium enterprises at 71 percent, while 53 percent would prefer working for a startup.

The global marketplace has a different result, though. Globally, this research report found that more employees would prefer working for small to medium enterprises at 64 percent, followed by multinational corporations at 55 percent and startups at 50 percent.

Further breaking down these results, age also plays a part in these preferences.

  • Millennials in all three Asian markets had a strong preference of working for multinational corporations.
  • In fact, in Malaysia, 87 percent of millennials prefer working for multinational corporations.
  • Hong Kong millennials come in at 78 percent and Singaporean millennials are at 80 percent when it comes to a preference for working for MNCs.
  • Older workers in both Singapore and Malaysia had similar results to the millennials, but those in Hong Kong preferred small to medium enterprises more.

Researchers believe that two factors are the largest draw to the multinational corporations: job security and work-life balance. This is because MNCs often have more emphasis on these aspects.

In each of these Asian markets, multinational corporations are dominating when it comes to bringing in the best talent. The reason behind this is that they are able to take their brand name and the reputation that goes along with it, in addition to larger resources and attractive company culture as a draw for job seekers.

However, there are some changes occurring in these areas when it comes to the labor market. Over time, local SMEs are getting better at meeting employee needs and becoming attractive workplaces.

Some Insights Into Salaries and Jobs In Asia During 2017

The 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide has been released, and the biggest news to come out of it is Singapore’s skill shortage epidemic. The shortage threatens to impact Singaporean employers in the year to come.

The Realty Management Associates and recruiting trends gathered from over 3,000 employers throughout Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China and Singapore. Information and salary ranges come from 6 million employees and over 1,200 different roles.

An astounding 96 percent of businesses in Singapore are concerned about the skill shortage epidemic affecting their operations as they have difficulties finding skilled individuals to fill their open positions. Companies recognize the importance of attracting and retaining top talent to get a competitive edge, and these skill shortages make it even more important.

Because of this well-documented issue, experts are encouraging many employers to invest in their existing staff with training and development opportunities. Employers should also review and adjust their recruitment practices to gain the upper hand in acquiring talent.

Salaries

While most employers in Singapore plan to increase salaries between 3 and 6 percent, 34 percent of employees surveyed in Singapore expect more than a 6 percent raise.

This disconnect in salary expectations requires employers to carefully balance offering a competitive salary to attract skilled workers and to manage the salary for existing workers.

If new hires receive a higher salary, or quicker and bigger increases, it could cause tension between new talent and existing staff.

Benefits

In all of the countries surveyed, 85 percent of employers offered benefits to employees in addition to salary and bonuses.

Healthcare was the top benefit, followed by life insurance, car insurance with a cheap motor trade insurance, pension, housing allowance and a gym membership. A protein promo’s study revealed that the benefit of a gym membership is highly attractive among almost 80 percent of employees.

Bonuses

In Singapore, 66 percent of employers are planning on awarding bonuses to all of their employees, and 25 percent plan to offer bonuses only to some employees.

In all of the Asian countries surveyed, bonuses were typically based on either company-wide or individual job performance.

However, 10 percent of staff bonuses were guaranteed regardless of performance, and 34 percent were based on team performance.

Staffing

In the past 12 months, 36 percent of Singaporean employers added to their permanent headcount, 23 percent decreased permanent staff and 41 percent remained unchanged.

In 2017, 32 percent of Singaporean employers surveyed plan to increase permanent staff, 15 percent plan to reduce headcount and 53 percent intend to stay the same.

In the last year, a little over half (51 percent) of employers in Singapore utilized temporary staffing. Up to 65 percent of employers used a recruitment firm, while 37 percent brought in part-time staff, 26 percent hired casual employees and 14 percent participated in job-sharing agreements.

In 2017, 19 percent of surveyed employers plan on using temporary staff more than last year.

Other Findings

While foreign employees make up 21 percent of Singapore’s workforce, making it the most diverse in the region, it is a 7 percent decrease from the past year. China employs the fewest foreign workers at 6 percent, followed by Japan at 9 percent, Malaysia at 11 percent and Hong Kong at 12 percent.

Singaporean employers improved their gender diversity thanks to 31 percent of management positions held by women, up 4 percent from last year.

Management roles in Malaysia and China are filled 35 percent by women. 33 percent of senior positions went to women in Hong Kong. Japan is last in gender diversity, with 22 percent of management roles filled by women.

Cities And Functions In Asia With The Most Job Opportunities

Asian markets are becoming popular options for millennials and expats alike as they face an uncertain and sometimes volatile Western economy. The body corporate managers help committee members cope with the complex demands of building management and body corporate law. Speaking of law, checkout this awesome blog about legal document assembly, click this link https://www.smokeball.com/features/document-assembly/ to learn more.

Events like Brexit, the U.S. presidential election and the Trans-Pacific Partnership all made companies a bit hesitant to grow their employee base.

Certain Asian cities, though, such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Singapore and Tokyo, are emerging as promising destinations for employees at all levels in a variety of industries. This is as per a survey by ExpatFinder.

Human resources and finance are industries with an overall high demand in most cities, while communications, food and hospitality, and logistics and manufacturing are, overall, the industries least likely to have available positions. These are the effect of poor marketing strategies. Visit Gold Coast Joel for SEO advice and marketing strategies.

Hong Kong: Finance, Logistics and Manufacturing, and Sales and Marketing in Demand 

A skills shortage in finance has opened up a variety of positions, especially for individuals skilled in audit, compliance and cybersecurity.

Positions in Hong Kong-based companies along with some Chinese companies moving into the region are available at various levels. This includes full-time as well as temporary and contract opportunities.

More than 27 percent of Hong Kong’s job vacancies were in the financial industry in recent months.

Mid-level and junior employees in logistics and manufacturing, and sales and marketing, are also in high demand. Each of these industries accounts for slightly more than 13.5 percent of the job vacancies.

Food and hospitality positions are extremely hard to find, as the industry makes up only 1.33 percent of the available jobs. Engineering (3.01 percent of available jobs) and retail (4.48 of available jobs) positions also have few available jobs.

Kuala Lumpur: Demand for Sales and Marketing, Consultancy and Management, and Finance 

Overall, high turnover in most industries in Kuala Lumpur makes jobs available in many sectors.

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Individuals who look for jobs in sales and marketing may find the greatest job availability, as more than 19 percent of available jobs fell into this industry. Nearly 60 percent of the industry’s jobs are for entry or junior-level positions.

The consultancy, management and financial industries, though, are seeing an overwhelming need for mid-level employees. In the financial industry alone, more than 87 percent of available jobs fall into the middle-level position.

There are fewer jobs available for construction, education and engineering industries.

Mumbai: Technology, Finance, and Sales and Marketing in Demand 

Mid- and senior-level employees are highly needed in the top three industries in Mumbai.

More than 29 percent of job vacancies in Mumbai fell into the technology industry. Of those, more than 74.5 percent of the positions were for mid-level employees.

As much as 60 percent of the finance jobs, which accounted for 13 percent of the overall job vacancies, and 75 percent of sales and marketing jobs, which accounted for 8 percent of all job vacancies, were also in the mid-level category.

Few jobs are available in the food and hospitality, sciences, and logistics and manufacturing industries.

Singapore: Demand for Human Resources, Finance, Sales and Marketing 

The highest demand for jobs in Singapore is for human resources positions, which account for more than 14 percent of all available jobs.

Entry-level positions in are the most widely available position in the top three industries, making up nearly 54 percent of the positions in the human resources industry.

One-third of the human resources industry positions are filled by middle-level managers. Senior executives and managers in human resources are the least likely to find a position in Singapore, as  these jobs make up 12 percent of the available jobs in the industry.

The finance sector makes up nearly 13 percent of the available jobs, with a great need for mid-level executives. Individuals with skills in auditing, compliance and risk are especially needed.

In sales and marketing, which accounts for about 12.5 percent of Singapore’s job vacancies, mid-level executives are also in high demand, as they make up about half of the positions in the industry.

Workers with any level of experience in healthcare, logistics and manufacturing, and communications will have a tough time finding a position, as the are the three industries with the least job availability.

Tokyo: High Demand in Technology, Finance, and Logistics and Manufacturing 

Technology professionals, especially mid-level employees, are in very high demand in Tokyo, as nearly 20 percent of job vacancies were in this industry.

A skills shortage, especially in applications development, data and database management, IT security, networking, and software development, has made it hard for companies that need to grow their department to find good candidates, some companies even decide to hire external resources as temporal outsourcing like outsourcing vs offshoring depending on the companies need.

About 12.6 percent of available jobs were in the finance industry. The logistics and manufacturing industry showed a similar number of available jobs. In both industries, companies are looking for middle-level employees.

The challenge of finding qualified candidates has led many companies to look for temporary professionals.

The fewest jobs are available in the communications, media and publishing, and human resources industries.

which industries and functions are hiring for jobs in asia

Seagate Closing Plant And Laying-Off 2,100 Employees In China

In July 2016, Seagate Technology announced it would be letting go of 6,500 employees globally.

A large part of these layoffs were expected to be in Malaysia, by shutting down the firm’s factory in Penang (3,000 staff).

As part of the global cost cutting exercise, Seagate now announced it will be closing a manufacturing plant in China (Sozhou) and laying-off 2,127 employees.

The 1.1 milion square foot facility was bought by Seagate for $1.9 billion in 2006.

As per the company, they will continue to invest in their factory in Wuxi, China and optimise the plant to meet current demands from the market.

Seagate is facing difficulties since the demand for hard-disk drives has been on the decline. It sold ~39 million hard drives in 1Q 2017, as compared to ~60 million in 1Q 2015.

Most Employees In Asia Reject Counter-Offers From Employers

A recent survey from recruiting firm Hays says that last year around 61 percent of employees in Singapore rejected a counter-offer from their bosses to make them stay in the firm. Meanwhile, 30 percent of employees claimed that they accepted their offers and stayed.

Such counter-offers ranged from salary increases, more company benefits, a highly sought-after promotion or a new job title, more responsibility, a change in the current role, or more involvement in projects. These types of counter-offers are made in the hope that managers and CEOs convince employees to stay at the firm.

Hays’ survey revealed that while 30 percent of employees said that they accepted the counter-offers and ended up staying with their employers for more than 12 months after accepting the counter-offer, 9 percent said they ended up leaving the organization anyway less than 12 months after receiving the counter-offer. For these 9 percent, those counter-offers from their employers were not enough to make them stay in the long run.

People reject counter-offers because in most cases it’s too late” says Lynne Roeder, Hays’ managing director for Singapore “Whether it’s because they want to take the next step in their career or they want to broaden their professional horizons, chances are they made their mind up when they applied for that other job. It could also be that they wish to change industries or simply because they are currently unhappy in their present role. Before considering presenting a counter offer, employers should be wary that once an employee has announced their intention to leave, their long-term loyalty can come into question.”

Singapore is not the only area where a high number of workers are rejecting counter-offers from their employers. Hays has conducted similar research throughout Asia and found that 45 percent of workers in China, 56 percent of workers in Hong Kong, 61 percent of workers in Japan and 63 percent of workers in Malaysia said “thanks but no thanks” to the counter-offers they received from their bosses.

This makes Singapore tied with Japan for the second-highest rate of employees ditching counter offers and leaving their firms, with Malaysia having the highest rate and China having the lowest.

Salary Growth Rates Expected Across Asia Pacific In 2017

Mercer recently performed research on the nominal wage growth occurring in Asia-Pacific countries, and found that that employees should be receiving slightly higher salary increases in 2017 compared to 2016.

The region is seen as an outlier due to the uncertainty of the global economy, and the fact that it is expected to perform above the global average. Inflation is low for most of the countries, so that helps to make the real wage growth relatively better.

Expected Percentages

Two countries that have the largest percentage of salary growth are Vietnam at 9.2 percent and India at 10.8 percent.

In addition, the financial regions of Singapore and Hong Kong are both expected to see about a 4 percent increase.

Countries that are among the lowest with increases between 2-3 percent, include Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

salaries in asia 2017

Employee Pay Levels And Rewards

Korea, Australia and Japan all have starting salaries that begin at about $30,000, and as employees move up the ladder, salaries rise steadily to the point where they could be making between $250,000 and $350,000.

In many of the countries in Asia (especially China), executives that are higher up in companies will earn better paychecks than their counterparts in the United Kingdom and the United States. However, this is only keeping salaries in mind, since things are different when the long-term incentives and social security benefits available in Europe are brought into the equation.

In Asia countries need to focus more on benefits and take a tailored approach. For instance, Korea and Japan both have an aging workforce with the average age of 45, and the benefits provided revolve around retirement and long-term incentives, whereas places with a younger workforce like in the Philippines, Indonesia and India focus on learning and development along with flexible benefits.

Turnover

Turnover seems to be an issue for companies in just about all of the Asia-Pacific countries as the research uncovered a double-digit turnover rate. The only two countries that aren’t facing these high rates of turnover are New Zealand and Japan.

Tech Firms In Asia Raise Salary Budgets Due To Rising Turnover

Experts might expect that, given the fluctuating state of the global economy, employees would want to retain their positions for longer periods of time. However, at least in the technology industry in the Asia-Pacific region, and in Singapore, specifically, this does not hold true.

New reports show that technology companies in Asia-Pacific have high voluntary employee turnover rates. These high turnover rates are a surprising outcome considering the high levels of instability and uncertainty in economies around the world.

In fact, voluntary turnover rates in all markets, except for Japan and South Korea, are higher than 10 percent. Singapore is fourth when compared to all regional major markets at 11.7 percent, trailing Australia, Malaysia and India in terms of the highest voluntary turnover rates.

These stats came from the Radford Trends Report, which publishes surveys and reports about compensation and development in more than 80 countries. Radford is a part of Aon Hewitt.

As a result of the increasing voluntary employee turnover, the report shows that many of the companies in the region have started to create hiring plans that might be deemed more aggressive than normal. Two-thirds of companies in the technology sector in Asia-Pacific have created detailed plans to help address this situation.

India is also leading this trend, with 13 percent of the companies implementing an aggressive hiring plan. Companies in India are also reporting plans to take their salary increase budgets from 10.5% in 2016 to 11% in 2017.

While the salary increase isn’t quite as drastic in Singapore as it is in countries like India or Indonesia, it isn’t far behind.

Companies in Singapore are also working to improve their employee retention. To respond to median voluntary turnover at 11.7%, technology companies in Singapore are keeping more aside for salary increase budgets (4.4% in 2017 vs 4.2% in 2016).

technology it company salary increase 2017 asia singapore

Economic Activity Improved For 14 Of 19 Sectors In Asia (Nov 2016)

The Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) measures economic activity (such as output, new orders, prices) and consequently employment growth/contraction.

A number above 50 points towards an economic expansion and below 50 points toward a contraction.

Here is a summary of the PMI numbers for countries in Asia, during November 2016. Numbers in brackets are for the previous month.

  • Singapore: 52.8 (50.5)
  • Hong Kong: 49.5 (48.2)
  • Japan: Services 51.8 (50.5), Manufacturing 51.3 (51.4)
  • India: Services 46.7 (54.5) , Manufacturing 52.3 (54.4)
  • Philippines: 56.3 (56.5)
  • Malaysia: 47.1 (47.2)
  • Indonesia: 49.7 (48.7)
  • Thailand: 48.2 (48.8)
  • Vietnam: 54.0 (51.7)

The PMI increased for 14 of the 19 sectors in Asia. Below are some of the sectors which showed the strongest growth and contraction.

  • General industrials: 57.0
  • Industrial services: 56.3
  • Commercial & professional services: 56.1
  • Real estate: 48.9
  • Healthcare services: 48.5
  • Insurance: 46.6

Soft Skills Development Lacking In Asia/Singapore

Technical/Hard skills may be the ones most commonly listed on resumes, but a recent study by the Singapore Management University, in partnership with J.P. Morgan, shows that soft skills are the ones that many economies in the region are lacking.

The study looked at the skills challenges in countries that are part of the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, especially Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Results showed that even in government programs, like SkillsFuture in Singapore, participants and employees were receiving sufficient training in hard skills, but soft skills, or the abilities that can be taken across jobs, were being pushed aside.

Soft skills are the characteristics and skills that employees can use anywhere they go, such as common sense, interpersonal and social skills, communication skills, and character traits. They are important for relationships with others, which is something all employees need at any level of employment.

SkillsFuture, the Singapore government’s national effort to improve the education, training and careers of their residents and workers, has made significant strides toward giving employees the teachable, specific skills that are measurable, or hard skills training.

However, the lack of soft skills is one area in which the Singaporean economy needs improvement. The report also showed other factors and shortages that may be impacting the economy.

  • Singapore, right now, has a high reliance on foreign workers. As a result, the study notes that redesigning or restructuring jobs to better use technology and increase productivity could help to reduce this reliance on foreign workers.
  • There is a definite lack of skilled middle and senior-level professionals in the cybersecurity fields. Much of this is due to lack of training programs and paths to entry for those looking for mid-career switch into the field.
  • Skill gaps are also present in the info-communications technology, electronics, electronics manufacturing, finance and insurance fields. Furthermore, employers are having a hard time attracting qualified professionals into these fields because of pay cuts that many will experience, along with the extensive knowledge needed for success.

More Gender Diversity On Boards In Singapore And Asia

Credit Suisse recently reported that the number of women holding board seats in Singapore went up to 9.9%.

The bank studied the 3,400 companies that Credit Suisse covers, and found that, overall, European companies showed strong increases in boardroom gender diversity, as a result of high quotas and targets. Women hold nearly 25 percent of the continent’s board seats.

Meanwhile, the diversity progress in Asian companies had a great deal to do with the fact that they were starting from a very low threshold.

In Singapore, the numbers were the highest ever in 2015, with a 1.5 percentage point increase from 2014. Women made up 8.4 percent of the boards of Singapore’s largest companies in 2014.

Singapore’s percentage was higher than the Asian average of 8.9 percent. This number is slightly skewed, though, because Korea and Japan both have the least amount of board diversity in the world, and their percentages are included in that average.

While the increase is promising for Singapore’s diversity, it’s still outshadowed by some of its neighbors. In Malaysia, women held 13.9 percent of board seats and in Thailand, women held 12.7 percent.

These numbers are positive. However, it’s important to note a few factors:

  • The Asian average remains at less than 10 percent of female representation on boards.
  • Many companies have fallen into the habit of giving board seats and appointments to women who are already sitting members of other boards. So the same women tend to have seats on many boards.

The report also showed that boards where at least one member was a woman saw higher corporate performance, outperforming boards with only male members by 3.5 percentage points.

Additionally, if women made up 15 percent of more of a company’s senior leadership and management team, the company had a 15.3 percent return on equity. In companies where women made up less than 10 percent of the corporate executives, companies reported a return on equity of 13 percent.

Even further, companies with a female CEO had a 15.2 percent return on equity, while companies with a male CEO had a 12.8 percent return on equity.

Severe Skills Shortages On The Horizon For Asian Economies

Many of Asia’s economies are discovering how difficult it has become to continue sustained growth.

A recent report published by the Workforce Analytics Institute (WAI) has found that skill shortages, caused by less-than-adequate education needed to prepare workers, are becoming a problem for many nations in the region.

The report, which focused on factors such as demographics within a country, labor supply and compensation, predicts a big shortage of qualified and properly educated workers. In a few of the region’s nations, the percentage of the population with an education beyond the secondary level is less than 10%.

According to the report, these economies “have a distance to go before their workforce is fully equipped to work in an international environment.”

Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong rank highest among Asian nations on the verge of experiencing severe skilled worker shortages. The lack of of supply comes at a time when skilled labor across Asia is in demand.

Although countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, have relatively better education levels, they are still seeing a decrease in their labor supply due to a lack of a working-age population needed to replace retiring workers.