Benefits, Hiring and Salary Increase Plans of Employers in Singapore for 2016

January 26, 20168:12 am1056 views

Candidates should look beyond salary this year to focus on professional development opportunities as employers in Singapore plan only modest salary increases this year, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide, reveals that the majority of employers in Singapore (47 percent) plan increases of three to six per cent in the next review period and 28 percent plan increases of only up to three per cent.

The Hays Salary Guide highlights salary and recruiting trends drawn from more than 3,000 employers across Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan representing six million employees as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

“We will see some tension this year between employers taking a cautious approach to salaries to help navigate economic conditions in the region more generally and candidates hungry for advancement,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

“To make the best of these conditions, candidates should do their research thoroughly before pitching for salary and give more weight to other benefits such as career development opportunities that will pay off when the salary climate is more favourable to candidates.”

“Employers are telling us they expect skills shortages to be a challenge this year and while this will only add to salary pressures we expect most employers to still keep salaries in check. To fill shortages, Singapore’s employers will need to focus more attention on other strategies such as developing their pipeline of female talent and remaining open to recruiting from overseas,” Christine added.


In addition to the salary intentions reported above, the salary guide further shows 11 percent of employers in Singapore plan to increase salaries this year by six to 10 percent. Also another seven percent plan increases above 10 per cent, while seven percent do not plan any increases.

Looking at the next review period by country, China leads the salary field with 60 percent of employers planning to increase salaries by six to 10 percent. Conversely 63 percent of employers in Japan plan increases of only up to three percent. Like Singapore, the majority of employers in Hong Kong and Malaysia plan salary increases of between three and six percent.

See: Employment Outlook for Singapore on an Upward Trajectory in 2016


Across all countries, 84 percent of employers provide staff benefits in addition to salary and bonuses. Health/medical is the most commonly offered benefit (78 percent of employers) followed by life assurance (42 percent), a car/car allowance and a pension (each offered by 33 percent of employers).


In the coming year, 63 percent of employers intend awarding staff bonuses. When asked to nominate one or more factors influencing bonuses, 95 percent of employers cited “company performance”, 92 percent “individual performance” and 37 percent “team performance”.

Only 10 percent of employers guarantee bonuses. In terms of the value of bonuses, 33 percent of employers intend awarding up to 10 percent of staff salary as a bonus, 44 percent plan to award 11 to 50 percent of salary as a bonus and 13 percent from 51 to 99 per cent and 10 percent, as 100 percent of staff salary as a bonus.


Most (60 percent) employers expect business activity to increase this year. Over the next year 43 percent of employers expect to hire more permanent staff while 46 percent will maintain current staffing levels.

60 percent of employers have used flexible staffing such as temps/contractors in the past year and 19 percent plan to increase their use of temporary staffing this year.

Other key findings for Singapore

While searching for a better salary and benefits package is the key reason most candidates in Singapore (43 percent) start job hunting. When asked what keeps them in a job, a massive 60 percent of candidates in Singapore nominated work-life balance while 40 percent nominated salary and benefits and 37 percent work location.

As mentioned, Singapore’s workforce is the most culturally diverse with 28 percent of roles held by foreign employees compared to 18 percent in Hong Kong, 15 percent in Malaysia, nine percent in Japan and eight percent in China. This flexibility is a plus for Singapore employers when it comes to filling critical roles in areas of skills shortage.

However, only 27 percent of management roles are held by women in Singapore compared to 37 percent in Malaysia, 32 percent in China and 28 percent in Hong Kong. Women in Japan hold only 19 per cent of management roles.

Also read: Singapore Ranks second among 109 countries in International Talent Mobility and Global Competitiveness

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