Rising costs in Singapore to spur salary review: Robert Walters

  • Talent moving between jobs expect salary increase of 15%-20%
  • Many willing to change jobs if pay increments lower than inflation rates

Rising costs in Singapore to spur salary review: Robert WaltersConcerns over the rising cost of living and a looming recession will see professionals in Singapore more likely to request, and expect their employers to consider a pay increment for 2023, a report by Robert Walters highlighted. 

In a statement, the recruitment firm said as companies continue to face a shortage of talent, especially among the managerial and senior-level positions, they are likely to double up efforts in staff retention initiatives.

It said one in two firms have also considered the option of building a fully remote workforce.

Robert Walters’ global Salary Survey 2023 stated that talent moving between jobs can expect a salary increase of 15 to 20%. 

These increments can go up as high as 40% for talent-short areas such as tech, it said. 

Meanwhile, employees staying with their current companies will see their salaries pegged to market standards, it added.

As inflation and a possible recession affects Singaporeans’ daily lives, 80% of employees shared that they are more likely to request for more pay, while 71% expect their employers to consider the rising cost of living when evaluating pay rises or bonuses over the next 12 months. 

The report noted that over 78% are willing to consider changing jobs in 2023 should their pay increments be lower than the inflation rate.

It said with Singapore’s inflation at an average of 4%, more than three in five (61%) of respondents expect a pay rise of more than 6%. 

Yet some are unlikely or unsure to get on the negotiation table in 2023, with top reasons cited being: not wanting to jeopardise job security (26%), not knowing how to negotiate (18%), and that the company was heavily impacted by Covid-19 (14%), it added.

Rising costs in Singapore to spur salary review: Robert WaltersThe report highlighted that respondents were divided on whether fears of the challenging climate would affect their likelihood of seeking a job change – with 45% less likely to and 55% who felt their plans would not be changed.

The survey noted that finding the right talent remains the top concern for 92% of the employers polled. 

It said the skill/talent shortage is felt most acutely at the senior/team lead (50%) and the manager (24%) levels. 

It added that top challenges when sourcing for staff include:

  • Salary and benefit expectations perceived to be too high (61%);
  • Lack of applications (53%); and
  • Lack of industry experience (46%)

As companies sought alternatives to augment their talent pool and solve skill gaps, 47% of employers said they have considered a fully remote/location independent workforce.
Additionally, companies are doing their part to support their staff despite the uncertain times, with 82% of employers more likely to give pay rises in recognition of inflationary pressures, and 72% likely to issue bonuses in 2023. 

Yet 72% expect that the rising cost of living will also make it harder for them to retain talent, the report stated.
In the area of employee retention, 65% of companies have proactively put in place measures. 

The most common-adopted measures include hybrid work policies (75%), increased wellbeing initiatives (64%), improved employee benefits (57%), improved learning and development (55%) and pay reviews outside of the normal cycles (54%).
Taking a long-term view, companies who were surveyed said they are looking into developing a more inclusive hiring strategy. 

This includes broadening workplace policies and perks to be more inclusive (57%), reassessing the wordings on job specifications (47%), and engaging with specialist recruitment firms for counsel (34%).
Monty Sujanani, country manager at Robert Walters Singapore, said, “We have observed that when employees feel burnt out, or bored because they are not learning anymore, this compels them to look for other opportunities.

“Companies should make employees feel heard and keep them engaged to attract and retain talent in 2023 and they should start by developing a purpose-driven culture where employees are aligned to the organization’s vision and feel they can deliver impact through their work,” said Sujanani.

According to Robert Walters, 2022 has seen companies’ hiring appetite grow primarily due to tech and healthcare industries. 

It said professionals, especially those with niche skill sets in AI, data, software development, cybersecurity, and e-commerce will remain in high demand. 

It added that there is an increased demand for roles across sales, marketing, supply chain, procurement, finance and HR, as companies move their regional headquarters into Singapore.
In 2023, professionals with tech skill sets will be in demand across a range of industries, in both commercial and business function roles, Robert Walters said, adding that tech companies will seek commercially-savvy talent who can project manage or sell products that support digital transformation for other businesses.
The firm added that ESG talent, as well as HR professionals with experience in staff retention will also be sought after. 

Finance, marketing and advertising will require talent who can use predictive data and analytical skill sets to help businesses make informed decisions, it said, adding that soft skills such as resilience, adaptability, agility and an eagerness to learn will offer professionals a competitive advantage, in addition to their technical skill sets.

Click here to access the survey.


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