Stairway to Promotion: Good Luck, Good Network or Superior Favouritism?

May 15, 20178:22 am669 views

A brand-new ‘Job Promotions Report’ by has revealed a mismatch between Singapore employers’ and employees’ perception on job promotions. Singapore employees vote for human quotient as the top factor for promotion, while on the other hand, recruiters believe on-the job skills are the most important.

Also, Singapore has a low formal promotion percentage: Companies take the longest time to offer promotions to employees, registering an average of 46 months – 13 months longer than the region’s average of 33 months.

These key findings from Job Promotions Report 2017, helps understand the promotion processes by examining nascent trends and various factors influencing promotions, also employees’ attitudes towards promotion practices.

The report surveyed 10,389 employed individuals and 518 employers from a blend of industries and specialisations across seven countries: Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam.

The data revealed a disparity between Singaporean employees’ and hirers’ perceptions on promotions. Employees in Singapore believe that one’s circle of influence has the most impact on his promotion. They rate it the number one factor after leadership traits, performance/attitude, on-the-job skills and tenure. Hirers, on the other hand, believe on-the-job skills are the most important, and place circle of influence as the least important.

“This mismatch may be shaped by the working environment’s cultural differences and perceptions derived from employees’ previous working experiences. The differing opinions raises speculations on promotion practices leading to negative sentiments in this competitive and matured job market,” said Ms Chook YuhYng, Country Manager of Singapore.

See: 6 Clear Indicative Signs Your Employees’ are Worth a Promotion

When asked to rate the promotion practices in their company, more than 75 percent of Singapore employees said they are given more duties or responsibilities, while only 41 percent reported receiving a formal promotion.Singapore companies also offer the lowest salary increase, an average of 14 percent, compared with the region’s 16 percent to 24 percent.

This discrepancy may affect employees’ morale, as the extra responsibilities that come with a promotion do not translate into added value in their careers. The survey further discussed on the mismatch perceptions between recruiters and employees. Singapore hirers agreed on top management as the most influential person for promotions, employees voted for Department Head.

Other key highlights of the survey revealed that:

  • 58.4 percent of respondents who received a promotion did not gain any additional benefit apart from salary increase.
  • Majority of promotions across the seven countries occurred in January, June and December.
  • 50 percent of hirers in Singapore reported that the budget for promotions in companies is not cast in stone, indicating that promotion opportunities are available for those who perform well.

Singapore employees view promotion practices negatively

Is there fairness in the promotion processes? What about the outcomes? In Singapore, employees have negative feelings towards both, rating the fairness of promotion processes a 2.64 out of seven, and the fairness of promotion outcomes a 3.23. This is below the regional averages of 3.48 and 4.11 for the respective categories.

The negative sentiments could be due to various above mentioned mismatches between employees and hirers’ expectations. The long waiting time for a promotion is 4.96 years, across all positions and this could also be a contributing factor.

“The results of the survey can be a good reference point for hirers and employees. Hirers can use the promotion sentiment to improve their talent management strategies and policies, while employees can take note of factors that influence promotions to hone their skills, and better ready themselves in their careers,” said Ms Chook.

Also read: Right Ways to Announce Promotion to Employees

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