79% of S'pore firms lose a good employee to a higher paying company: Survey

79% of S'pore firms lose a good employee to a higher paying company: Survey
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - A survey has revealed that 79 per cent of firms in Singapore lose a good employee to a higher paying company in the past year.

The survey of 2,425 chief financial officers and finance directors from 16 countries was conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half. 150 firms from Singapore were involved in the study.

According to Robert Half, talent poaching is more likely to happen in Singapore than any other country. The country with the next highest frequency of poaching is China (71 per cent), followed by the United Arab Emirates (65 per cent) and Japan (65 per cent).

Across the globe, 52 per cent of firms reported losing a good employee to a better offer.

The practice is especially common among large firms with more than 500 employees, added Robert Half. The percentage of large firms that have had someone poached is 84 per cent compared to 78 per cent of small firms and 74 per cent of mid-sized firms.

In the survey, 95 per cent of companies said they have had to boost their pay offer to win a candidate over in the last year. Seven per cent said they have to offer more pay while 41 per cent do it frequently.

The need to pay more to secure talented employees is more common among small companies with fewer than 250 employees where 58 per cent either always or frequently offered more, according to Robert Half.

Ms Stella Tang, managing director of Robert Half Singapore, said offering more money to a person to entice them from their current company has always happened, but it has increased in the current tight labour market.

She said: "Not every employee is going to be poached. It is usually senior level professionals that bring experience, a track record of success and potentially even business with them. Most of these professionals are already on good remuneration packages, so the offer has to be attractive to entice them to move.

"The amount of extra money they earn is usually around 5 to 10 per cent more, but we have seen cases where candidates have been offered 20 per cent above their current salary to jump to another company."

In addition to offering more pay to workers, Robert Half provides six tips for companies to effectively retain their valuable employees:

Tip 1: A clear career path

Employees want to know they have a future at your company. Make sure you meet with team members regularly to discuss their professional goals and how they can achieve them at your organisation.

Tip 2: Recognition

Have a programme in place to acknowledge staff achievements, focusing on fairness and a sincere delivery. When people feel that leaders notice and truly value their contributions, their motivation and loyalty grow.

Tip 3: Freedom

It's hard to feel productive or trusted if someone is looking over your shoulder all day long as you work. Most strong performers value a degree of autonomy. If you've done a good job of hiring, you should be able to rely on your employees to complete their work successfully.

Tip 4: Flexibility

Flexible work arrangements are among the most highly prized elements of a work environment for employees. These can range from simply making it easy to attend to family medical emergencies or school activities, to offering flexibility with individual work hours.

Tip 5: Corporate citizenship

People also want to work for companies that are a force for good. Ask yourself if your firm falls into this category. Actions such as setting up a day in which staff throughout the company attend a philanthropic event as a group can go a long way in building positive spirit and loyalty.

Tip 6: Clear communication

Last but decidedly not least, unambiguous communication is the foundation for all your other retention efforts. Keep employees in the loop when it comes to the latest developments at your company. People want to feel they're a key part of the organisation and that they play a role in upcoming plans.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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