1 in 2 Workers in Singapore Expect Pay Hike This Year, Survey Finds

January 29, 20201:06 pm460 views
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With a new year comes new career goals. Independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows getting a pay rise, upskilling and feeling happier at work are the top three career goals for Singaporean workers in 2020. Offering competitive remuneration, new challenges and upskilling opportunities and encouraging workplace wellbeing will therefore be key recruitment strategies for nurturing and retaining high-performance employees in the competitive Singaporean market over the coming 12 months.

Career goal findings

Salary remains a key consideration for Singaporean employees as they are faced with the rising cost of living coupled with slow wage growth of 2.2 percent. Survey results show, however, that 46 percent of Singaporean workers feel that they are underpaid in their current job while 49 percent say that getting a pay rise is their top career goal for 2020.

In an era of digital transformation, almost half (45 percent) of employees plan to seek upskilling opportunities to sustain their employability in an automated workforce. The business community and the government are supporting Singaporeans in their desire to upskill. While 73 percent of Singaporean companies increased their staff training budgets in 2019, government initiatives like the SkillsFuture program or Tech@SG pilot program are intended to develop a workforce of technically skilled and digitally agile professionals who can drive forward nationwide digital transformation initiatives.

Findings also suggest that Singaporeans are looking to their existing employment situation with 43 percent citing feeling happier at work as a top career goal. Changing jobs (20 percent) and changing careers (12 percent), on the other hand, are considered the least popular career goals for the coming year.

See also: Singaporean Millennials Save 20% of Their Salary for Retirement Preparation, Far Higher Than Other Age Groups

In the survey, 500 Singaporean office workers were asked “Which do you anticipate will be your top career goals for 2020?” 
Top career goals
% of Singaporean workers % of male Singaporean workers % of female Singaporean workers
Get a pay rise 49% 49% 50%
Upskill 45% 44% 46%
Feel happier at work 43% 39% 47%
Improve performance 42% 44% 41%
Get a promotion 39% 42% 35%
Strengthen professional relationships 30% 33% 26%
Get more flexibility 25% 24% 26%
Get more responsibilities/tasks 22% 23% 21%
Change jobs 20% 23% 17%
Change careers 12% 11% 13%
I don’t have career priorities/goals for 2020 2% 1% 5%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 500 office workers in Singapore.

Gender and age shape career goals

The Robert Half survey shows more female workers (47 percent) are prioritising happiness at work in 2020 than male workers (39 percent). Meanwhile, getting a promotion is higher on this year’s career goals agenda for male workers (42 percent) compared to female (35 percent). Both male (49 percent) and female workers (50 percent) are almost equally as likely to seek a pay rise this year.

The most likely age group to aim for a pay rise (55 percent) and promotion (48 percent) in the coming months are 18 to 34-year-olds, compared to 49 percent and 38 percent of 35 to 54-year-olds, respectively. Workers aged over 55 are least likely to prioritise a promotion (27 percent) or pay rise (38 percent) in 2020.

“In a competitive employment market, understanding and meeting the needs of staff is a powerful retention tool which has bottom-line benefits for the organisation. As the survey results suggest, no two employee career resolutions are the same, so companies should focus on developing a holistic employee engagement strategy that can be tailored to individual needs,” comments Mathieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore in announcing Robert Half’s latest survey results.

“There’s no doubt that an employee who feels valued, challenged and happy at work is more productive, engaged and likely to stay with the organisation, so managers should work with their employees to understand and help them meet their career goals over the coming year.”

“Offering competitive remuneration, new challenges and upskilling opportunities, and encouraging workplace wellbeing are key recruitment strategies for nurturing and retaining high-performance employees in the competitive Singaporean market.”

“Recognising an employee’s value through remuneration can contribute significantly to their engagement and workplace happiness, while upskilling can be a win-win for employer and organisations alike. The employee gets a desired skillset that positions them for a promotion, and the organisation gets an experienced, skilled worker who feels supported.”

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