Skills Shortages Continue to Worry Employers in Singapore in 2017

March 2, 20178:23 am1593 views

Employers in Singapore are concerned that the continuing skill shortage will severely impact their business operations this year, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide, reveals that 96 percent employers in Singapore are still struggling to find the skilled individuals they need.

“The ability to attract and retain the best talent always provides a company with a competitive advantage, but in 2017 with skill shortages persisting and significant changes and challenges on the horizon, it is more important than ever,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

The skills shortage in Singapore has been well documented and as business operations are likely to be affected throughout the year, employers are encouraged to invest in the training and development of staff and to become more strategic in their talent management practices.

“Recruitment and retention of talented employees will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges facing employers this year, and heightens the need for a review of recruitment policies and procedures in the midst of a war for top talent,” adds Christine.


Like last year, there still seems to be a disconnect in the salary expectations of Singaporean workers and what employers are offering. 11 percent of employers in Singapore will award more than 6 percent increases, whereas 34 percent of candidates surveyed in Singapore are expecting more than 6 percent. On an average, most employers in Singapore plan to award salary increases from between 3 to 6 percent.

“Employers need to balance the need to remain competitive on salary to attract new talent while managing salary budget for existing staff carefully. While employees’ salary expectations are fairly modest in Singapore, tensions could arise if salaries for new hires move up too fast,” says Christine.Singapore Salary Guide 2017_EdS


Across all Asian countries surveyed, 85 percent of employers provide staff benefits in addition to salary and bonuses. Health/medical remains the most commonly offered benefit (79 percent of employers) followed by life assurance (40 percent), a car allowance (34 percent), pension (31 percent), housing allowance (26 percent) and club or gym membership (16 percent).

See: Singaporean Businesses Lag Behind Harnessing Big Data Due to Skills Shortage


In the coming year, 66 percent of employers in Singapore intend to award bonuses to all employees and 25 percent to only some employees.

Across all Asian countries, bonuses were most commonly related to company performance (88 percent) or individual performance (84 percent). Only 10 percent of staff bonuses were guaranteed. A further 34 percent of bonuses were related to team performance.


Over the last 12 months, 36 percent of employers in Singapore increased permanent staffing levels, 23 percent decreased permanent headcount and 41 percent kept permanent staffing levels unchanged.

In the year ahead, 32 percent of employers in Singapore expect to increase permanent headcount, 15 percent to decrease permanent staff levels and 53 percent expect levels to remain unchanged.

Just over half of Singaporean employers (51 percent) used temporary staffing in the last year. Of those employers, 65 percent engaged contractors or temporary staff through a recruitment firm, 37 percent engaged part time staff, 26 percent hired casual employees and 14 percent made use of job sharing arrangements.

This year, 19 percent of employers expect to increase their use of temporary staff.

Other key findings

Singapore’s workforce is the most culturally diverse in the region with foreign employees comprising 21 percent. This however is a 7 percent decrease from last year.

China is in the bottom with 6 percent, Japan is next at 9 percent, 11 percent in Malaysia and finally 12 percent in Hong Kong.

Singapore has improved its gender diversity performance with 31 percent of management roles held by women, compared to 27 percent reported last year. Women hold 35 percent of management roles in both Malaysia and China and 33 percent in Hong Kong. Japan still trails behind with only 22 percent of its management roles held by women.

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

Also read: 96% Employers in Asia Believe Skill Shortages Can Impact their Business

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