Singapore Salary and Hiring Expectations During 2016

Recently, the 2016 Salary and Employment Outlook was published for Singapore professionals.

This guide outlines hiring trends across all of the country’s key sectors, and is prepared by the recruitment firm Michael Page.

Currently, the uncertainty in the regional economy has created issue in certain industries in Singapore.

However, both recruitment activity and salary increments are on the rise.

In fact, 49% of survey respondents expect to see an increased headcount in their industry in the next year. This is in contrast with the 44% of respondents who suspect numbers will largely stay the same.

In comparison, expected increases to employee salaries in Singapore remains modest. At the moment, 11% expect salaries to not increase whatsoever, while 71% are predicting an increase of 1-5%.

Recent events, such as the Chinese Yuan devaluation and stock market volatility, however, have made some employers cautious about increasing salaries and hiring new staff .

Speaking on the issue, Jeffrey Ng, Director of Michael Page Singapore, stated, “The economic uncertainty in China is having a slight impact here and companies are more cautious in hiring new and replacement headcounts. The year ahead might be challenging for companies.” Continuing his thoughts, Ng stated that he believed the oil industry, due to its recent profit issues, will “struggle, and we have seen some companies retrench headcount across functions.”

Many companies are expected to hire more part-time employees to supplement their workforce needs. In many sectors beyond the oil industry, this trend is growing quickly.

Even with some of these issues at hand, the Singapore job market has experienced many benefits recently.

For financial companies, in particular, the ability to attract qualified staff has been steady in the risk audit and corporate governance sectors.

Additionally, candidates who fluently speak Mandarin are in high demand for private banks looking for relationship managers, thanks to the increasing interest in Chinese market relations/investments.

Associate Director of Michael Page Singapore, Lay-Hoon Johnson, spoke on this issue recently: “In the last year, we have seen smaller players as well as established Asian outfits come into the banking scene in Singapore. In terms of back-end functions, we see another wave of investment in risk audit and compliance. We also see a lot of banks and financial institutions trying to beef up this function, especially with the strict regulatory environment set by the Singapore government. Private banking is also a growth area and institutions are hiring to meet this demand.”

Overall, candidates who hold valuable and specific skill sets are in the best position for being hired, and for holding leverage in hiring negotiations.

For companies who are particularly conservative when hiring, the fit of a candidate’s skill set is particularly important.

According to Frank Johnson, Director of Page Executive South East Asia, it is important to keep this thought in mind: At a senior level, it has to be a 99% perfect fit – employers focus on candidates that are within the industry and who can hit the ground running from day one. This hopefully allows us to shine in our level of service.”

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