While salary is still an important factor, Singaporean candidates increasingly have their eyes on another attribute
According to popular theory, salary is often the main motivator for employees in Singapore to switch jobs.
However, work-life balance may be overtaking salary in the minds of previously mercenary Singaporean candidates.
According to a survey by recruiter Robert Half, among 500 Singaporean jobseekers, one in four office workers would leave their current organisation to get a better work-life balance, followed closely by 24% who refer to financial rewards and 23% citing career development.
Another 16% refer to management/leadership and 5% to co-workers as being the primary reason why they would leave the organisation.
Even though work-life balance is increasingly becoming a key motivator for Singapore professionals, salary remains a crucial incentive to attract and retain top talent, especially hard-to-find professionals.
In a market characterised by growing skills shortages, the finance and accounting sector is a perfect example of this. All Singaporean CFOs say it is challenging to find qualified finance and accounting professionals, with many planning to award above-average salary increases to their top finance employees this year.
In addition, an overwhelming majority (99%) of Singaporean CFOs plan to award pay rises to an average of 25% of their finance staff, with the average salary increase expected to be about 7%.
This positive salary sentiment is a wider reflection on increasing national wage growth, with a 4.3% increase in average income in 2017, versus an increase of 2.7% in 2016.
Singaporean finance employers understand the importance of having a well-developed retention policy to achieve business goals.
Almost all (99%) of Singaporean CFOs state they have in place employee retention initiatives within their organisation, with more than half (57%) offering training and professional development programs.
About half offer flexible working arrangements, such as the option to work from home. Just under half are implementing employee appreciation programs and 47% have in place employee wellness programs. Over four in 10 are conducting regular salary reviews.
“Salary remains a significant part of a remuneration package in Singapore and companies realise that they have to offer above-average salary packages to secure high-calibre professionals,” said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore.
“However, there’s been a steady shift of preferences from jobseekers who are looking for more work-life balance, and even prioritise non-financial incentives other than just a higher salary.
“Companies looking to attract and retain top performers need to consider other non-financial incentives, such as workplace flexibility and the option to work from home, especially if they are not in a position to award pay increases or above-average salary rates.”