Majority of People in Asia Prefer to Work For Multinational Firms

asians like mnc jobs

A recent research report found that a majority of people in Asia prefer to work for multinational corporations (MNCs).

Although there is quite a bit of attention on creative and groundbreaking startups, as well as small to medium enterprises (SMEs), a report by Randstad Workmonitor found that:

  • 84 percent of Malaysian employees prefer working for a larger MNC. 60 percent wanted to work in startups and 70 percent in small to medium enterprises.
  • This trend occurs in other Asian countries as well.
  • Among Singaporean workers, 73 percent of respondents want to work for multinational corporations with 57 percent preferring startups and 63 percent preferring SMEs.
  • Hong Kong workers showed equal numbers preferring multinational corporations and small to medium enterprises at 71 percent, while 53 percent would prefer working for a startup.

The global marketplace has a different result, though. Globally, this research report found that more employees would prefer working for small to medium enterprises at 64 percent, followed by multinational corporations at 55 percent and startups at 50 percent.

Further breaking down these results, age also plays a part in these preferences.

  • Millennials in all three Asian markets had a strong preference of working for multinational corporations.
  • In fact, in Malaysia, 87 percent of millennials prefer working for multinational corporations.
  • Hong Kong millennials come in at 78 percent and Singaporean millennials are at 80 percent when it comes to a preference for working for MNCs.
  • Older workers in both Singapore and Malaysia had similar results to the millennials, but those in Hong Kong preferred small to medium enterprises more.

Researchers believe that two factors are the largest draw to the multinational corporations: job security and work-life balance. This is because MNCs often have more emphasis on these aspects.

In each of these Asian markets, multinational corporations are dominating when it comes to bringing in the best talent. The reason behind this is that they are able to take their brand name and the reputation that goes along with it, in addition to larger resources and attractive company culture as a draw for job seekers.

However, there are some changes occurring in these areas when it comes to the labor market. Over time, local SMEs are getting better at meeting employee needs and becoming attractive workplaces.

Some Insights Into Salaries and Jobs In Asia During 2017

jobs and salaries in asia 2017

The 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide has been released, and the biggest news to come out of it is Singapore’s skill shortage epidemic. The shortage threatens to impact Singaporean employers in the year to come.

The Realty Management Associates and recruiting trends gathered from over 3,000 employers throughout Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China and Singapore. Information and salary ranges come from 6 million employees and over 1,200 different roles.

An astounding 96 percent of businesses in Singapore are concerned about the skill shortage epidemic affecting their operations as they have difficulties finding skilled individuals to fill their open positions. Companies recognize the importance of attracting and retaining top talent to get a competitive edge, and these skill shortages make it even more important.

Because of this well-documented issue, experts are encouraging many employers to invest in their existing staff with training and development opportunities. Employers should also review and adjust their recruitment practices to gain the upper hand in acquiring talent.


While most employers in Singapore plan to increase salaries between 3 and 6 percent, 34 percent of employees surveyed in Singapore expect more than a 6 percent raise.

This disconnect in salary expectations requires employers to carefully balance offering a competitive salary to attract skilled workers and to manage the salary for existing workers.

If new hires receive a higher salary, or quicker and bigger increases, it could cause tension between new talent and existing staff.


In all of the countries surveyed, 85 percent of employers offered benefits to employees in addition to salary and bonuses.

Healthcare was the top benefit, followed by life insurance, car insurance with a cheap motor trade insurance, pension, housing allowance and a gym membership. A protein promo’s study revealed that the benefit of a gym membership is highly attractive among almost 80 percent of employees.


In Singapore, 66 percent of employers are planning on awarding bonuses to all of their employees, and 25 percent plan to offer bonuses only to some employees.

In all of the Asian countries surveyed, bonuses were typically based on either company-wide or individual job performance.

However, 10 percent of staff bonuses were guaranteed regardless of performance, and 34 percent were based on team performance.


In the past 12 months, 36 percent of Singaporean employers added to their permanent headcount, 23 percent decreased permanent staff and 41 percent remained unchanged.

In 2017, 32 percent of Singaporean employers surveyed plan to increase permanent staff, 15 percent plan to reduce headcount and 53 percent intend to stay the same.

In the last year, a little over half (51 percent) of employers in Singapore utilized temporary staffing. Up to 65 percent of employers used a recruitment firm, while 37 percent brought in part-time staff, 26 percent hired casual employees and 14 percent participated in job-sharing agreements.

In 2017, 19 percent of surveyed employers plan on using temporary staff more than last year.

Other Findings

While foreign employees make up 21 percent of Singapore’s workforce, making it the most diverse in the region, it is a 7 percent decrease from the past year. China employs the fewest foreign workers at 6 percent, followed by Japan at 9 percent, Malaysia at 11 percent and Hong Kong at 12 percent.

Singaporean employers improved their gender diversity thanks to 31 percent of management positions held by women, up 4 percent from last year.

Management roles in Malaysia and China are filled 35 percent by women. 33 percent of senior positions went to women in Hong Kong. Japan is last in gender diversity, with 22 percent of management roles filled by women.

Cities And Functions In Asia With The Most Job Opportunities

where to find jobs in singapore and asia

Asian markets are becoming popular options for millennials and expats alike as they face an uncertain and sometimes volatile Western economy. The body corporate managers help committee members cope with the complex demands of building management and body corporate law. Speaking of law, checkout this awesome blog about legal document assembly, click this link to learn more.

Events like Brexit, the U.S. presidential election and the Trans-Pacific Partnership all made companies a bit hesitant to grow their employee base.

Certain Asian cities, though, such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Singapore and Tokyo, are emerging as promising destinations for employees at all levels in a variety of industries. This is as per a survey by ExpatFinder.

Human resources and finance are industries with an overall high demand in most cities, while communications, food and hospitality, and logistics and manufacturing are, overall, the industries least likely to have available positions. These are the effect of poor marketing strategies. Visit Gold Coast Joel for SEO advice and marketing strategies.

Hong Kong: Finance, Logistics and Manufacturing, and Sales and Marketing in Demand 

A skills shortage in finance has opened up a variety of positions, especially for individuals skilled in audit, compliance and cybersecurity.

Positions in Hong Kong-based companies along with some Chinese companies moving into the region are available at various levels. This includes full-time as well as temporary and contract opportunities.

More than 27 percent of Hong Kong’s job vacancies were in the financial industry in recent months.

Mid-level and junior employees in logistics and manufacturing, and sales and marketing, are also in high demand. Each of these industries accounts for slightly more than 13.5 percent of the job vacancies.

Food and hospitality positions are extremely hard to find, as the industry makes up only 1.33 percent of the available jobs. Engineering (3.01 percent of available jobs) and retail (4.48 of available jobs) positions also have few available jobs.

Kuala Lumpur: Demand for Sales and Marketing, Consultancy and Management, and Finance 

Overall, high turnover in most industries in Kuala Lumpur makes jobs available in many sectors.

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Individuals who look for jobs in sales and marketing may find the greatest job availability, as more than 19 percent of available jobs fell into this industry. Nearly 60 percent of the industry’s jobs are for entry or junior-level positions.

The consultancy, management and financial industries, though, are seeing an overwhelming need for mid-level employees. In the financial industry alone, more than 87 percent of available jobs fall into the middle-level position.

There are fewer jobs available for construction, education and engineering industries.

Mumbai: Technology, Finance, and Sales and Marketing in Demand 

Mid- and senior-level employees are highly needed in the top three industries in Mumbai.

More than 29 percent of job vacancies in Mumbai fell into the technology industry. Of those, more than 74.5 percent of the positions were for mid-level employees.

As much as 60 percent of the finance jobs, which accounted for 13 percent of the overall job vacancies, and 75 percent of sales and marketing jobs, which accounted for 8 percent of all job vacancies, were also in the mid-level category.

Few jobs are available in the food and hospitality, sciences, and logistics and manufacturing industries.

Singapore: Demand for Human Resources, Finance, Sales and Marketing 

The highest demand for jobs in Singapore is for human resources positions, which account for more than 14 percent of all available jobs.

Entry-level positions in are the most widely available position in the top three industries, making up nearly 54 percent of the positions in the human resources industry.

One-third of the human resources industry positions are filled by middle-level managers. Senior executives and managers in human resources are the least likely to find a position in Singapore, as  these jobs make up 12 percent of the available jobs in the industry.

The finance sector makes up nearly 13 percent of the available jobs, with a great need for mid-level executives. Individuals with skills in auditing, compliance and risk are especially needed.

In sales and marketing, which accounts for about 12.5 percent of Singapore’s job vacancies, mid-level executives are also in high demand, as they make up about half of the positions in the industry.

Workers with any level of experience in healthcare, logistics and manufacturing, and communications will have a tough time finding a position, as the are the three industries with the least job availability.

Tokyo: High Demand in Technology, Finance, and Logistics and Manufacturing 

Technology professionals, especially mid-level employees, are in very high demand in Tokyo, as nearly 20 percent of job vacancies were in this industry.

A skills shortage, especially in applications development, data and database management, IT security, networking, and software development, has made it hard for companies that need to grow their department to find good candidates, some companies even decide to hire external resources as temporal outsourcing like outsourcing vs offshoring depending on the companies need.

About 12.6 percent of available jobs were in the finance industry. The logistics and manufacturing industry showed a similar number of available jobs. In both industries, companies are looking for middle-level employees.

The challenge of finding qualified candidates has led many companies to look for temporary professionals.

The fewest jobs are available in the communications, media and publishing, and human resources industries.

which industries and functions are hiring for jobs in asia

Relocation/Living Expenses For Singapore Among Top 10 Globally

monthly living costs singapore

According to the 2017 Relocation Price Index, Singapore is now the eighth-most expensive city in the world to move to, with a basic first-month living cost of $2,148.45. All figures in this article are in U.S. dollars.

Movinga, an online moving platform, conducted a study researching 75 cities in 51 countries worldwide.

They found that Luanda, Angola had the highest basic costs for the first month, beating out New York and San Francisco. Luanda was followed by Zurich, Switzerland; London, England; Hong Kong, and Sydney, Australia. Tokyo, Japan, came in behind Singapore at ninth place, with Seattle finishing the top 10.

The 2017 Relocation Price Index calculates the basic costs associated with the first month of living in a new city. Calculations include the average rent for a 35 square-meter apartment close to the city center, the cost of a month’s data plan and mobile phone setup, a month’s worth of groceries, and a month’s use of public transport in the city.

For Singapore, here are the living expenses for the first month broken down:

  • The average rent for a 35 square-meter apartment was $1,414.13 for the first month.
  • The cost of a mobile phone set up was $34.74.
  • A month’s worth of food and drink was a total of $629.77.
  • Using the city’s public transport for the first month averaged $69.81.

Luanda, Angola, the number one most expensive city in the world to relocate to, has an average cost of $2,030.39 for the first month’s rent, with $1,124.24 in groceries and $95.89 in public transportation costs for one month. Mobile phone setup and monthly data is significantly cheaper than Singapore though, averaging at only $8.81. These give Luanda a total of $3,259.32 in living expenses for the first month.

New York comes in second with a total of $3,084.75, with San Francisco following in third place with a total of $3,050.10. Next is Zurich with $2,625.19, London with $2,614.35, Hong Kong with $2,265.41, and Sydney with $2,163.43. Tokyo follows Singapore with $2,104.13 and Seattle with $2,084.03.

relocation and living costs for singapore and other cities

Almost Half Of The People In Singapore Have Poor Work-Life Balance

Employees In Singapore Have Poor Work-Life Balance

A survey of employees in various locations, found that almost one in two people in Singapore report a poor work-life balance. In the Emolument study, 47 percent of respondents stated that the balance between their professional life and personal life is awful.

Many of the people with the worst work-life balance also have the largest paychecks, but is this too high a commitment for employees?

Locations and Jobs That Offer Top Salaries in Exchange for High Commitment

Out of all the locations in the survey, the ones that are offering top salaries in exchange for a high commitment from employees include Singapore, UAE, and Hong Kong.

The most unhappy set of employees are consultants. Due to the nature of the  job, consultants are often subject to longer working hours and have less control over their environment.

49 percent of consultants are unhappy with their work-life balance and categorize it as awful. They often deal with clients, need to readily obey their commands at the drop of a hat, and they have no control over where and when they work.

Gender and Work-Life Balance

The study also examined the differences in gender when it comes to work-life balance.

It was found that a higher percent of women than men find the balance between work and personal life to be awful, with nine percent more women feeling this way.

Often there is relatively more pressure on women when it comes to what they handle in their lives.

Most women deal with the commitments that come with children, such as the children being sick or having events at school.

Women also have to deal with all the logistics that come with raising a family, such as arranging day care or transportation, in addition to handling/overseeing the housework, cleaning and cooking.

A successful career and a fulfilling personal life can be a huge juggling act.

Future Implications

Alice Leguay, the COO of, says that although large companies have been talking about work-life balance for many years, it’s only recently becoming a factor for people when they go through the process of picking a career or employer.

The younger generations are coming into the workforce looking for jobs that are flexible in that they expect less face-time and micromanaging. More and more young people want to be trusted to do the job under their own terms.

Depending on the industry, these expectations may be a long way off for some employers, but many are starting to understand that a poor work-life balance could result in higher turnover rates.

These employers are realizing that more employees aren’t finding higher pay enough compensation for a poor work-life balance.

Most Employees In Asia Reject Counter-Offers From Employers

employee quit reject counter offer

A recent survey from recruiting firm Hays says that last year around 61 percent of employees in Singapore rejected a counter-offer from their bosses to make them stay in the firm. Meanwhile, 30 percent of employees claimed that they accepted their offers and stayed.

Such counter-offers ranged from salary increases, more company benefits, a highly sought-after promotion or a new job title, more responsibility, a change in the current role, or more involvement in projects. These types of counter-offers are made in the hope that managers and CEOs convince employees to stay at the firm.

Hays’ survey revealed that while 30 percent of employees said that they accepted the counter-offers and ended up staying with their employers for more than 12 months after accepting the counter-offer, 9 percent said they ended up leaving the organization anyway less than 12 months after receiving the counter-offer. For these 9 percent, those counter-offers from their employers were not enough to make them stay in the long run.

People reject counter-offers because in most cases it’s too late” says Lynne Roeder, Hays’ managing director for Singapore “Whether it’s because they want to take the next step in their career or they want to broaden their professional horizons, chances are they made their mind up when they applied for that other job. It could also be that they wish to change industries or simply because they are currently unhappy in their present role. Before considering presenting a counter offer, employers should be wary that once an employee has announced their intention to leave, their long-term loyalty can come into question.”

Singapore is not the only area where a high number of workers are rejecting counter-offers from their employers. Hays has conducted similar research throughout Asia and found that 45 percent of workers in China, 56 percent of workers in Hong Kong, 61 percent of workers in Japan and 63 percent of workers in Malaysia said “thanks but no thanks” to the counter-offers they received from their bosses.

This makes Singapore tied with Japan for the second-highest rate of employees ditching counter offers and leaving their firms, with Malaysia having the highest rate and China having the lowest.

Salaries And Expectations Of Graduates In Hong Kong

graduate salaries in hong kong 2016 2017

89% of the recent crop of university graduates in Hong Kong, landed a job within three months of graduating.

And most of them (76%) are happy with the job they managed to get.

This is as per a survey by JobsDB, of approximately 760 local graduates in Hong Kong. Here are a few more highlights:

  • The average salary for fresh graduates is HK$ 14,685 per month (HK$ 13,413 last year).
  • The three most preferred sectors for graduates are accounting, marketing/ advertising/ PR, and the civil services.
  • 41% expect to stick with their first job for over three years, as compared to 20% in the previous year. This is most likely a function of the uncertain economic environment.
  • Factors that graduates value most in a job, include compensation (27%), ability to pursue/develop their interests (15%), the organisation’s environment/ culture/ reputation (11%), job security (11%) and career development (10%).
  •  71% of students were optimistic about their careers.

“The results of the survey speak for themselves. With the right conditions, employers can expect to retain many of their fresh graduates for three years or more,” said Justin Yiu, Hong Kong General Manager at Jobs DB.

salary for undergradutes in hong kong

career goals students hong kong

The Skills Gap In Singapore’s Finance Sector Is Widening

skills gap bank finance jobs singapore

The skills gap facing many companies in Singapore is about more than the skills themselves, especially when it comes to companies looking to hire professionals in the finance industry/function.

More than three-quarters of CFOs note that they see greater competition from overseas corporations who want to attract the same skilled professionals.

A recent study from Robert Half showed that because of the competition, finance companies and banks are running into more difficulties as they meet with and try to attract potential employees. In fact, the study showed that 79 percent of CFOs report that this overseas competition is making the skills gap even wider.

Medium-sized companies are being hit the hardest, with 94 percent of CFOs in these firms noting that overseas companies are increasing their offers to talented potential employees.

However, that hasn’t stopped almost half of these Chief Financial Officers from doing the same thing. Around four in 10 — or 44 percent — said that they will also look overseas to hire skilled professionals for their own departments. They plan to look for and fill at least 10 percent of their positions with employees from foreign countries.

Robert Half Singapore’s Managing Director Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard notes that Singapore has an advantage as a result of its global reputation, innovation, and business excellence. All three factors are traits that financial services professionals appreciate. Even so, the report shows that when the companies in Singapore want to add employees, they have no choice but to work with the foreign markets to offset the skills shortage in the country.

The skills shortage weighs heavy on the mind of CFOs. Almost 79 percent of these CFOs note that their innovation — in both ideas and execution — is hindered because of the shortage. Hong Kong is a strong regional competitor, and if companies in Singapore want to compete regionally, they need to continue stepping up their game.

If companies want to attract skilled talent, they should be willing to re-examine their policies for attracting prospective employees and retaining them for years to come. There has been an increasing focus lately on looking at ways to put together packages that would attract talented and senior candidates, both local and foreign, to alleviate the skills gap in the financial sector.

Salary Growth Rates Expected Across Asia Pacific In 2017

salary increment asia 2017

Mercer recently performed research on the nominal wage growth occurring in Asia-Pacific countries, and found that that employees should be receiving slightly higher salary increases in 2017 compared to 2016.

The region is seen as an outlier due to the uncertainty of the global economy, and the fact that it is expected to perform above the global average. Inflation is low for most of the countries, so that helps to make the real wage growth relatively better.

Expected Percentages

Two countries that have the largest percentage of salary growth are Vietnam at 9.2 percent and India at 10.8 percent.

In addition, the financial regions of Singapore and Hong Kong are both expected to see about a 4 percent increase.

Countries that are among the lowest with increases between 2-3 percent, include Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

salaries in asia 2017

Employee Pay Levels And Rewards

Korea, Australia and Japan all have starting salaries that begin at about $30,000, and as employees move up the ladder, salaries rise steadily to the point where they could be making between $250,000 and $350,000.

In many of the countries in Asia (especially China), executives that are higher up in companies will earn better paychecks than their counterparts in the United Kingdom and the United States. However, this is only keeping salaries in mind, since things are different when the long-term incentives and social security benefits available in Europe are brought into the equation.

In Asia countries need to focus more on benefits and take a tailored approach. For instance, Korea and Japan both have an aging workforce with the average age of 45, and the benefits provided revolve around retirement and long-term incentives, whereas places with a younger workforce like in the Philippines, Indonesia and India focus on learning and development along with flexible benefits.


Turnover seems to be an issue for companies in just about all of the Asia-Pacific countries as the research uncovered a double-digit turnover rate. The only two countries that aren’t facing these high rates of turnover are New Zealand and Japan.

Tech Firms In Asia Raise Salary Budgets Due To Rising Turnover

asia turnover salary 2017

Experts might expect that, given the fluctuating state of the global economy, employees would want to retain their positions for longer periods of time. However, at least in the technology industry in the Asia-Pacific region, and in Singapore, specifically, this does not hold true.

New reports show that technology companies in Asia-Pacific have high voluntary employee turnover rates. These high turnover rates are a surprising outcome considering the high levels of instability and uncertainty in economies around the world.

In fact, voluntary turnover rates in all markets, except for Japan and South Korea, are higher than 10 percent. Singapore is fourth when compared to all regional major markets at 11.7 percent, trailing Australia, Malaysia and India in terms of the highest voluntary turnover rates.

These stats came from the Radford Trends Report, which publishes surveys and reports about compensation and development in more than 80 countries. Radford is a part of Aon Hewitt.

As a result of the increasing voluntary employee turnover, the report shows that many of the companies in the region have started to create hiring plans that might be deemed more aggressive than normal. Two-thirds of companies in the technology sector in Asia-Pacific have created detailed plans to help address this situation.

India is also leading this trend, with 13 percent of the companies implementing an aggressive hiring plan. Companies in India are also reporting plans to take their salary increase budgets from 10.5% in 2016 to 11% in 2017.

While the salary increase isn’t quite as drastic in Singapore as it is in countries like India or Indonesia, it isn’t far behind.

Companies in Singapore are also working to improve their employee retention. To respond to median voluntary turnover at 11.7%, technology companies in Singapore are keeping more aside for salary increase budgets (4.4% in 2017 vs 4.2% in 2016).

technology it company salary increase 2017 asia singapore

Economic Activity Improved For 14 Of 19 Sectors In Asia (Nov 2016)

asia jobs november 2016

The Nikkei Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) measures economic activity (such as output, new orders, prices) and consequently employment growth/contraction.

A number above 50 points towards an economic expansion and below 50 points toward a contraction.

Here is a summary of the PMI numbers for countries in Asia, during November 2016. Numbers in brackets are for the previous month.

  • Singapore: 52.8 (50.5)
  • Hong Kong: 49.5 (48.2)
  • Japan: Services 51.8 (50.5), Manufacturing 51.3 (51.4)
  • India: Services 46.7 (54.5) , Manufacturing 52.3 (54.4)
  • Philippines: 56.3 (56.5)
  • Malaysia: 47.1 (47.2)
  • Indonesia: 49.7 (48.7)
  • Thailand: 48.2 (48.8)
  • Vietnam: 54.0 (51.7)

The PMI increased for 14 of the 19 sectors in Asia. Below are some of the sectors which showed the strongest growth and contraction.

  • General industrials: 57.0
  • Industrial services: 56.3
  • Commercial & professional services: 56.1
  • Real estate: 48.9
  • Healthcare services: 48.5
  • Insurance: 46.6

Standard Chartered To Layoff More Staff In Singapore and Hong Kong

standard chartered layoffs singapore hong kong

Standard Chartered will be letting go of around 10% of its employees, from the corporate and institutional division.

This round of retrenchments follows an exercise started last year, to cut costs and improve profitability at the bank.

Employees will be informed of the job cuts beginning this week. People in departments such as corporate finance and trade finance will be impacted, in locations including Hong Kong and Singapore. The majority of senior level layoffs are expected to be in Singapore.

“We are making our corporate and institutional banking division more efficient. Removing duplication in roles and managing our costs to protect planned investments in technology and people means that a small number of existing roles will be impacted.” – statement released by Standard Chartered.

Over a year after CEO Bill Winters announced various initiatives and plans to improve the situation at the bank, Standard Chartered is still facing falling revenues. The bank had approximately 85,000 employees in the beginning of July 2016, which is lower by 1,500 from the same time last year.