Employees In Singapore Are Less Engaged

singapore employee engagement

A recent survey of over 5 million employee responses showed that less than 25 percent of employees consider themselves to be highly engaged in their company.

The report, “2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement,” by Aon Hewitt, covered over 60 industries and showed overall engagement (highly engaged + moderately engaged) scores in the 60 percent range.

Both Singapore and Malaysia fell to below 60 percent for employee engagement. Singapore had a four- point decrease year on year.

Other APAC countries are slightly higher, but are all under 70 percent. India leads the pack at 69 percent, China is at 67 percent, Thailand and the Philippines are tied at 65 percent, with Indonesia rounding out the mix at 61 percent.

employee engagement in singapore 2017

In particular, millennials feel the most disengagement, particularly when surveyed about their companies’ methods to attract talent, promote employees and retain staff. Millennials also rated low on feeling their companies were giving them the appropriate resources to do their jobs.

According to Stephen Hickey, a Partner at Aon Hewitt APAC, “As organisations strive to fuel growth, they must understand how their workforce productivity and pay programmes—both fixed and variable, compare to market. They must educate their people on how they implement pay for performance and recognise top contributors using a blend of financial and non-financial rewards such as development opportunities.”

Aon Hewitt found that there are regional variations in engagement, driven by cultural differences, regional political climate, and local economics. However, some things are universal: colleague recognition and fairness in reward programs is increasingly important in engaging a workforce.

Highest-performing employees are also the most engaged, and there are definitely financial benefits to having engaged employees. Companies with engaged employees outperform other companies by 202 percent and have lower absenteeism. In fact, companies that increase investments in employee engagement by 10 percent reap a reward of higher productivity by $2,400 per employee per year.

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

Indian Companies Say ‘I Do’ To The Freelance Economy

freelance and part time jobs in india

Flexing It,  a platform for flexible management talent in South & South East Asia, released a report revealing the key trends on how the freelance economy has been shaping in India.

The report, ‘Indian companies say ‘I do’ to the freelance economy’ leverages Flexing It’s proprietary data borne out of the short-term, project based and consulting assignments posted on the platform over the period of six months from April 2016 to September 2016. Flexing It analyses how organisations in India are starting to look at work differently, with increased focus on skills and delivery rather than simply employment contracts.

The report shows that flexible and independent working goes beyond working remotely as 46% of the projects posted have an onsite component. While MNCs and large corporates prefer onsite work, start-ups are more agile and flexible creating more remote assignments. It also notes that 61% of the demand for freelancers involves less than 3 months of commitment, indicating that firms are hiring high quality talent and expertise for a short burst and specific purpose to fulfill key initiatives.

Chandrika Pasricha, Founder & CEO, Flexing It  said, “As technology, culture, demographics and what professionals want from their jobs today, undergo a rapid transformation, Indian companies are evolving their HR policies to embrace the freelance economy. Organisations are bringing independent professionals on board to drive projects and new initiatives, access quality capacity during peak periods, retain flexibility, and of course source very specific skills and expertise”.

As per the report, the trend which began with start-ups and SMEs is being adopted by larger enterprises and consulting firms that are co-opting independent professionals to drive projects and new initiatives, access quality capacity during peak periods, retain flexibility, and source very specific skills and expertise. It also highlights how project-based and freelance arrangements have become an integral part of business strategy to match evolving business needs with the best talent and at the right budget. Other key findings from the report include:

New work models that involve flexibility

  • Majority of demand for freelancers (61%) involves less than 3 months of commitment indicating that firms are hiring high quality talent for a short burst and specific purpose.

Start-ups and SMEs lead the way

  • Start-ups and SMEs are the largest segment(about 50%) engaging with freelancers and business consultants in the field of marketing (21%), creative & design services (17%) and sales (17%).

Disruptive undercurrents in large companies

  • MNCs & large corporates and consulting biggies are realising the value of adopting non-traditional approaches of sourcing talent on-demand.

Stalwarts of consulting exploring new models

  • In the last six months, consulting firms have also become very active users (33%) in addition to start-ups in driving the demand for independent professionals .

Cities leading the way

  • Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore mark 2/3rd of the market demand for business freelancers and independent consultants.

For more information, the report can be accessed here.

Condition Of The Job Market In Asia (2016)

asian job market salaries 2016

The Hays Global Skills Index is a report that aims to evaluate the labour market in various countries, based on the following criteria.

  • Education flexibility and quality.
  • Resident participation in the labor market.
  • Flexibility and openness of the labor market.
  • Mismatch in the talent that employers need and what is available in the market.
  • Wage pressures (overall).
  • Wage pressures (highly skilled industries).
  • Wage pressures (highly skilled occupations).

Each indicator is ranked individually out of 10 possible points and the scores are compiled to create the overall score. A lower score means that an indicator is putting less pressure on the labour market (which is good) and a higher score means that it is exerting more pressure.

Here’s how countries in Asia fared.


The recruitment market is still active for a variety of different industries, including banking and finances, life sciences and information technology.

Standout Stats:

  • While economic growth has slowed over the past few years, the real GDP continues to grow.
  • Employment continues to grow, even though it’s at a slower rate than it has been previously.
  • Overall wage pressure has experienced a slight decrease, but there is greater upward wage pressure than in the past, for high skilled industries.

Overall, Singapore scored a 4.7, the same score it received in 2015, with good education flexibility/levels and labor market participation as the primary causes for the low number..

Companies are using more contract or temporary employees in Singapore.



While the economy in the rest of the world took a significant hit, Malaysia faced the difficulties well, coming out better off than analysts would have expected.

Standout Stats:

  • The economy continues to grow, even though it’s at a slower rate that past reports have found.
  • Analysts are predicting that Malaysia’s GDP will grow to between four and five percent, in 2016 and 2017.
  • The Ringgit depreciation will open the doors for more exporters.

Malaysia came in with a score of 5.1 for 2016, the first time the country has been included in the index.

Labour market flexibility and openness is the biggest concern for Malaysia.


Hong Kong

The open economy in Hong Kong means that it can be easily influenced by outside factors, such as the slowing growth of China’s GDP.

Despite that, Hong Kong continues to be a regional hub and financial center, with an active labour market.

Standout Stats:

  • Thanks to the effects of the Chinese market, Hong Kong’s economic growth is much slower than previous years. The slow down is also caused by drops in consumer spending and private investment in capital.
  • Hong Kong’s labour market is strong and active, with increased support from the fiscal policy.

Hong Kong scored a 4.5 this year, the same score it received in 2015.

There has been a decrease in labour market participation rates and increased talent shortages, which are leading to wage pressure overall.



China’s market, which impacted Hong Kong’s overall scores, also saw a noticeable drop in its own scores.

Standout Stats

  • Experts predict that the Chinese economy will grow by about six percent in 2017. A welcome growth pattern after the sharp and severe downturn that China experienced. New reports show that the exports and investments in infrastructure are balancing the lack of corporate investments.
  • A slowdown in some industries, like steel, coal and financial services, when combined with fast growth in credit, could still put this growth in jeopardy.

China scored 4.3 this year, lower than in 2015, when the country scored 4.7.

A 1.2 score in the flexibility of education and a 1.9 in the participation of the labor market, are offset by an 8.1 in the flexibility of the labor market.

china labour job market 2016


India is another country whose scores have been, and will continue to be, affected by the global economy.

Standout Stats

  • In the next few years, the population of individuals who are able to work is expected to experience a very positive growth.
  • Current data shows that India’s GDP is in a positive spot of growth.
  • Unfortunately, investments aren’t growing at the same speed.

India saw lower pressure in the labour market, down to 4.8 this year, from 5.0 in 2015.

Upward pressure is coming from labour market flexibility and overall wage pressure.



Australia has experienced a big shift being made from mining to service-related industries such as education, health, retail and tourism. This change has led to greater business activity.

This is offset, though, by employers being slow to catch up to salary pressures indicative of the growth. They may soon feel the increased pressure because of the growing turnover and lack of qualified and highly skilled candidates.

Standout Stats

  • Consumer confidence and the wage growth seem to be improving.
  • A huge growth in exports led to GDP growth, which is expected to continue.
  • Business investments, however, have decreased, mainly due to the changes in the mining industry.

There is a higher pressure on the labour market in 2016, as Australia scored a 5.1. In 2015, the country scored a 5.0.

The labor market tightened, due in great part to the country’s talent mismatch. The shift in the economy’s overall focus from mining to service means that employees don’t have the skills necessary for new and emerging industries.


One frequently occurring theme throughout the 2016 Hays Global Skills Index is that all over the world, reports are showing that the gap between available and needed skills is widening. Many of the countries in Asia are no exception to that.

Lower Salary Increases Expected in 2017, For Most Of Asia Pacific

average salary increase asia 2017

As per a report by Willis Towers Watson, salaries in Asia Pacific are expected to increase by 5.9% in 2017.

For 2016 they had predicted an increase of 6.4%. However, the actual salary increase in Asia Pacific was 5.8%.

If the same pattern plays out in 2017, then Willis Towers Watson expects an actual increment that is a fair bit lower than 5.9%. That will make it the third consecutive year of declining budgets for salary increments.


If these numbers are adjusted for inflation, then the real salary increase in 2017 is projected to be 2.9% in Asia-Pacific, as compared to an actual increase of 3.5% in 2016.

Here is a breakdown of the numbers for several countries across Asia Pacific.

Country Projected Salary Increase %

(2017, After Inflation)

Vietnam 6.4
Bangladesh 5.0
Pakistan 5.0
China 4.9
Philippines 4.4
Thailand 4.4
India 4.3
Indonesia 4.3
Cambodia 4.0
Singapore 3.2
Malaysia 3.1
Japan 1.9
Hong Kong 1.7
Australia 0.9
Myanmar -2.2


“We are seeing lower salary increase budgets across much of the region,” stated Sambhav Rakyan, Business Leader, Asia Pacific, at Willis Towers Watson.

Asian Job Market Outlook For Q4 2016

asia full and part time jobs

Manpower surveyed around 15,000 employers in the Asia Pacific region, to arrive at an outlook for the job market in 4Q 2016.

They measure hiring outlook using a term known as Net Employment Outlook (NEO), which is the percentage of employers expecting total employment to increase in their organisations, minus the percentage who think total employment will reduce.

Employers have the highest hiring plans in India and Japan, while those China and Singapore have the lowest.

Here is the NEO for various countries, along with a few highlights:

India (+31%) : Slightly weaker hiring plans compared to the previous quarter and year. The largest growth in jobs is expected in the Wholesale/Retail Trade and the Services sectors. India continues to have the strongest job market in the region.


Japan (+20%) : The job market in Japan remains tight, especially due to demographics. Most industries report good hiring levels, with Mining and Construction showing the most gains. This could be due to needs of the Olympics in 2020.


China (+5%) : Positive hiring is expected in all sectors and most regions in the country. The strongest growth is expected in the Services industry. Hong Kong (+13%)


Australia (+12%) : The country is showing signs of a mild rebound in hiring. All industries expect increased hiring levels, with the best outlook for Transportation & Utilities, Services, and Finance.


Singapore (+8%) : Hiring activity is forecast to decline for the seventh quarter in a row and to levels which are the weakest since 2009.


The Best Companies To Work For In Asia Pacific (2016)

benefits of being a great employer in Asia

Aon Hewitt announced the best employers in Asia Pacific, based on a study/assessment it conducts.

Here are the organisations that made the cut in 2016.

Best Employers in Asia Pacific (Regional)

  • DBS Bank
  • American Express
  • The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts
  • FedEx Express Asia Pacific

Best Employers in Singapore

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia
  • American Express
  • DBS Bank
  • DHL Express
  • Far East Hospitality
  • Mundipharma
  • OCBC Bank

Best Employers in Hong Kong

  • AIA International
  • American Express
  • Baxter Healthcare
  • DBS Bank
  • DHL Express
  • McDonald’s Restaurants
  • The Ritz-Carlton

Best Employers in Thailand

  • Advanced Info Services
  • Advanced Contact Center
  • American Express
  • McThai
  • Mitr Phol Sugar Factory
  • Phyathai 3 Hospital
  • Swensen’s
  • Toyota Motor

Best Employers in India

  • AccorHotels
  • AGS Health
  • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
  • Bajaj Finance
  • Becton Dickinson
  • Bharti Infratel
  • Blue Dart Express
  • DHL Express
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Reliance AMC

Best Employers in China

  • AIA
  • Bayer
  • DHL SinoTrans International Air Courier
  • Infinitus
  • McDonald’s
  • MSD China Holding
  • Novartis Group
  • Pfizer
  • Taikang Life Insurance
  • TheRitz-Carlton Hotels

Best Employers in Malaysia

  • OCBC Bank
  • S P Setia Bhd
  • FedEx Express
  • AbbVie
  • DHL Express
  • Great Eastern Life Assurance
  • Sunway Building Materials
  • Marriott International
  • American Express
  • First Solar
  • Starbucks

The study involves 3 components:

  • Employee Opinion Survey: which employees answer to indicate their satisfactions and engagement levels.
  • CEO Survey and Interview: a survey and interview with the CEO, to get their thoughts and plans for the business and people.
  • People Inventory: a survey about human resources practices, responded to by the HR department.

These tools are used to select the best employers, based on the following criteria:

best employers in asia 2016

The benefits of performing well on these criteria and many. But essentially, it all boils down to having happy, loyal and high performing employees. This leads to better earnings and profit.

benefits of being a great employer in Asia

Employment Index Shows Optimism In India (July 2016)

top jobs in india july 2016

The Monster Employment Index (MEI) for India, reported a 19% year-on-year increase in online recruitment activities during July 2016.

The index looks at the number of job advertisements, including a breakdown by functions and industries. It includes employer job opportunities from a selection of career websites across India.

As per the study, the IT industry in India made a comeback with a growth of 51% YoY. This was after an extended period of deceleration. The sector now has demand for people with a specialized skill set, due to extensive digitization of manual processes.

The Education sector did well also and showed growth of 74%. There have been a host of government initiatives which made the sector perform well this year.

There was a big decline in demand for senior management roles . This was due to cost cutting across industries, with companies increasingly investing in low cost employees, as opposed to expensive senior level employees.

According to Sanjay Modi, Managing Director for Monster, APAC & Middle-East – “Overall, there is an atmosphere of impending optimism in the coming months in the Indian job market.

overall india jobs july 2016


industry growth india july 2016


top jobs in india july 2016


cities with most jobs in india july 2016

Rising Wages Are Harming The Economy And Jobs In Singapore

asia singapore export jobs

Wages/salaries in Singapore have continued to increase, even with lower corporate earnings and low growth in productivity.

Part of the reason behind the increase, are recent measures that have been taken to rein-in the number of foreigners working in Singapore. Over the years it has become harder for foreigners to get a job in Singapore, since the eligibility criteria has been raised for employment passes, S passes and also dependent passes.

As per economists at Credit Suisse, these rising costs are making Singapore less competitive as an exporter.

Here are the rankings of countries in Asia, in terms of export competitiveness.

  1. Vietnam
  2. Philippines
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Malaysia
  6. Thailand
  7. South Korea
  8. Singapore
  9. Taiwan
  10. Indonesia

The top performers have been gaining market share, while countries like Singapore, Taiwan and Indonesia have been losing out.

As per the report, these findings are a concern for the economy and jobs in Singapore, especially due to:

  • The export driven economy.
  • Slowing down of corporate earning/profit levels.
  • Low levels of consumer confidence.
  • Low productivity growth.

Fancy Working At The Best Performing Companies In Asia Pacific?

best performing companies in asia 2016

In case our report on the best brands in Singapore wasn’t enough for you, how about a ranking of the highest performing blue-chip companies in Asia?

Perhaps one of these titans could be the place where you work next?

The ranking is complied by Forbes, who aim to arrive at a list of corporate stars in the region, through the following process:

  • The starting point is a total of 1,524 public firms, who have yearly revenue of at least $1.7 billion.
  • These firms are then narrowed down to those who are profitable and whose revenue is greater than it was five years back.
  • Companies with more than 50% government ownership are then taken out of the list.
  • Those with debt ratio of greater than 50%, or those who have a listed parent company as the majority owner, are also out of the running.
  • And finally, the remaining few are evaluated based on a slew of financial indicators/measures.

And that gives us the best companies in Asia Pacific!

22 firms from China met the criteria, the most out of all countries in the region. Alibaba was one of the 22 and made it to the list for the first time in 12 years.

Here are the top 10 firms in Asia Pacific

best companies in asia 1

best companies in asia 2

For the entire list of 50 firms who made the cut in 2016, along with other details and analysis, head over to the Forbes website.