Expect lower pay hikes next year

Expect lower pay hikes next year

SINGAPORE - Workers in Singapore can expect lower pay hikes next year, as firms count costs more carefully amid tepid economic growth.

Overall salaries are likely to be bumped up by 4.4 per cent for next year, down from this year's average rise of 4.7 per cent, according to a survey by management consultancy Hay Group.

Variable bonuses are expected to remain at 2.3 months for next year, the same level as this year's.

The consultancy surveyed 193 Singapore-based companies in March and concluded that employees should anticipate only "prudent" pay rises, it said on Wednesday.

"Organisations are feeling the need to manage business costs in a slower economic environment this year, and a substantial part of (that) in Singapore is managing the cost of employment," said Mr Victor Chan, Hay Group's regional general manager (Singapore and ASEAN) for productised services.

Employees in life sciences, pharmaceuticals and services industries can look forward to the best pay rises of between 5 and 6 per cent for this year and next year, Hay Group said.

Mr Jimi Tan, founder of foot reflexology chain Kenko, plans to boost wages by 10 to 15 per cent both this year and next, depending on each employee's position and individual performance.

"Because of the manpower shortage, people are doing more work than they usually would, so I'm paying them more," he said.

Mr Tan is now training the best staff to be more productive so they can earn more next year.

On the flip side, workers in health care, transport, the public sector and leisure and hospitality are in for the smallest pay rises, Hay Group said.

The group also said more than half the firms polled plan to adjust staffing levels this year. The average addition to staff strength will be 9.4 per cent, it added.

Most of the new hiring will be in engineering and sales, followed by administration and support services, customer service, finance and accounting, and marketing.

"Those who have specialist knowledge or industry-specific technical skills, such as engineering, will continue to command a higher market differential as compared to more common jobs such as customer service and marketing," said Mr Chan.

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