What Tops the Priority List of Employees in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong?

May 22, 20178:26 am1191 views

Employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia still hold high preference for salary and benefits, when looking for an employer but work-life balance preference is now at an all-time high, reveals findings from the recent Randstad Employer Brand Research.

Hong Kong employees aged between 25 and 44 have now become the first demographic in all three countries to have placed work-life balance as their highest priority, surpassing salary preference for the first time.

A pleasant work environment is also now much less of a concern, as the importance of job security has increased highlighting the changing priorities of employees over the past year.

Work-life balance at an all-time high

Salary and benefits have long been the single most important factor for employees, when looking at companies they would like to work for and this year’s Randstad Employer Brand Research results are no different. In Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, the importance of work-life balance has continued to rise, to take the position of second most important attractive factor in all three markets.

Salary & Employee Benefits
  2017 2016 2015
Singapore 64% 69% 70%
Hong Kong 54% 60% 63%
Malaysia 63% 69%


Work-Life Balance
  2017 2016 2015
Singapore 61% 57% 54%
Hong Kong 52% 50% 47%
Malaysia 47% 43%

The gap between salary and work-life balance has closed. In both Singapore and Hong Kong, salary and work-life balance were separated by just a few percentage points, whereas in previous years the gap was as high as 16 percent. In Malaysia, the gap closed by 10 percent since the country’s inaugural Randstad Employer Brand Research report in 2016.

Hong Kong employees, aged 25 to 44, broke all previous records and set a new standard by placing work-life balance as the number one most attractive attribute over salary and benefits – in a country known for having long working hours. This is the first time no demographic has placed, salary and benefits as the number one attribute in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia.

See: 2017 HR Goals: Are You Connecting Better With Your Employees?

Peace of mind on the rise

Job security jumped in the rankings to become the third most important attractiveness factor in Singapore and Hong Kong, knocking down the highly sought after attribute of pleasant working atmosphere, which dropped substantially in preference.

This comes following the global economic uncertainty and news of retrenchments throughout last year. Surprisingly, job security in Malaysia dropped 9 percent from last year, when it stood as the third most attractive factor.

Confidence in management

While strong management has never been a top attractiveness factor, results this year have shown a jump in preference across Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. In Malaysia, the jump in preference for strong management was high enough for it, to tie in third place with career progression that was driven in particular by female employee sentiment.

Michael Smith, Managing Director, Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia noted, “It’s no secret that work-life balance has been of growing importance for employees around the world. However, the region has always had a much higher importance placed on salary and benefits. This year is the first time that we are noticing such a major shift in sentiment, so much so that Hong Kong employees aged 25 to 44 prefers work-life balance over salary and benefits. This once again highlights the extreme importance of keeping the dialogue between organizations and employees open, honest and frequent.”

“Job security has also made a big jump in preference in Singapore and Hong Kong, undoubtedly caused from last year’s economic uncertainty and retrenchments. However, global Q1 GDP growth showcased that the worst seems to be over with moderate improvement and in this region, China’s GDP expanded 6.9 percent year-on-year. This could very possible lower the preference for job security as confidence grows in the economy,” added Smith.

The results of the Randstad Employer Brand Research serves as a timely reminder for businesses to remain vigilant, and always monitor and manage their employer brands to attract and retain the best talent in an environment where preferences evolve at a rapid pace.

Also read: The Employee Burnout Crisis: One of the Biggest Workplace Challenge in 2017

Feature image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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