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.

Tekasek Owned Infrastructure Consulting Firm To Layoff 65 Staff

temasek surbana fire staff

As per press reports, Surbana Jurong,  an infrastructure development consulting firm owned by Temasek Holdings, will be letting go of up to 65 employees in Singapore.

The company employs around 3,000 people in Singapore. So 2.2% of its workforce will be laif-off.

After being given the termination letters, the employees took up the matter with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and also the unions they are a part of (Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union and Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union).

Both the unions are affiliated with NTUC and along with the MOM, they are speaking with the company to understand their plans and see how the employees can be assisted.

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.

Positive Changes For Older Employees In Singapore

older worker re-employment salary singapore

Yesterday, in Singapore, the Parliament passed the Retirement and Re-employment (Amendment) Bill 2016, which will help the older workforce with re-employment opportunities.

Here are the main changes that will go live on 1 July 2017.

Increasing the re-employment age from 65 to 67 years

Locals who were born on or after 1 July 1952 (or in other words, those who turn 65 on or after July 2017) will be eligible.

Providing an option for re-employment in other organisations

In case the employer cannot re-employ staff in their own company, they have the option to arrange for re-employment with another organisation. This will help to provide more flexibility to the labor market.

However, the employee must agree to such a transfer of re-employment. If the employee does not consent, then the employer must meet the re-employment obligations

As per the MOM –

“This amendment in the Bill allows an employer who is unable to offer a suitable position in his own organisation, to transfer his re-employment obligations to another employer, provided this is done with the older employee’s consent and that the second employer agrees to take over all applicable re-employment obligations.

Allowing eligible employees to be re-employed by another employer will help to provide more options for employers and employees.”

Removing the ability for employers to reduce staff compensation at 60

The new law will not allow employers to cut the salary of those who turn 60 anymore.

The provision to cut wages (by up to 10%) was introduced in 1999 and while 98.5% of companies were not using it in practice, the new law is still a welcome change.

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

Dyson To Open New Facility And Grow Workforce In Singapore

dyson singapore jobs

Dyson is planning on opening a new tech centre in Singapore next year.

It also plans to increase its engineering team by 50% in the next couple of years.

At the moment, the company has approximately 800 staff in Singapore, across three locations that include a commercial office, motor manufacturing facility and R&D lab.

Majority of the new hires will be engineers, with specialization is areas such as design, mechanics, electronics, software and motors. In addition to experienced people, Dyson will also be looking for fresh graduates who have no/little work experience under their belt.

“Singapore is much more than just the site where all our advanced Dyson digital motors are manufactured. We have plans for our engineers here to step up in developing the next frontier of Dyson technology, in close collaboration with our team in the United Kingdom.” – Scott Maguire, Dyson’s Global Engineering Director.

Highlights Of The Singapore Job Market In 2016

singapore jobs and salaries 2016

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore, released some advance numbers for the employment market during 2016.

Here are the highlights:

  • The labour force participation rate has been on a rising trend over the last five years. While it declined in 2016 (68%) as compared to 2015 (68.3%), this was due to certain one-off policies implemented in the previous year.
  • Due to poor economic conditions, the unemployment rate for residents increased to 3% in 2016 (2.8% in 2015).
  • The employment rate for people between 25 and 64 years of age, stayed stable at 80.3%. The rate was lower for males but this was offset by an increase in the employment rate for females.
  • Real median monthly income of residents employed full-time, increased by 2.7% to SGD 4,056. This was lower than the rate in the previous year, which was at 5.3%.

singapore job market in 2016

Soft Skills Development Lacking In Asia/Singapore

soft skills singapore asia

Technical/Hard skills may be the ones most commonly listed on resumes, but a recent study by the Singapore Management University, in partnership with J.P. Morgan, shows that soft skills are the ones that many economies in the region are lacking.

The study looked at the skills challenges in countries that are part of the Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, especially Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Results showed that even in government programs, like SkillsFuture in Singapore, participants and employees were receiving sufficient training in hard skills, but soft skills, or the abilities that can be taken across jobs, were being pushed aside.

Soft skills are the characteristics and skills that employees can use anywhere they go, such as common sense, interpersonal and social skills, communication skills, and character traits. They are important for relationships with others, which is something all employees need at any level of employment.

SkillsFuture, the Singapore government’s national effort to improve the education, training and careers of their residents and workers, has made significant strides toward giving employees the teachable, specific skills that are measurable, or hard skills training.

However, the lack of soft skills is one area in which the Singaporean economy needs improvement. The report also showed other factors and shortages that may be impacting the economy.

  • Singapore, right now, has a high reliance on foreign workers. As a result, the study notes that redesigning or restructuring jobs to better use technology and increase productivity could help to reduce this reliance on foreign workers.
  • There is a definite lack of skilled middle and senior-level professionals in the cybersecurity fields. Much of this is due to lack of training programs and paths to entry for those looking for mid-career switch into the field.
  • Skill gaps are also present in the info-communications technology, electronics, electronics manufacturing, finance and insurance fields. Furthermore, employers are having a hard time attracting qualified professionals into these fields because of pay cuts that many will experience, along with the extensive knowledge needed for success.

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.