Pay rises may be 'a bit lower' amid global uncertainty

Pay rises may be 'a bit lower' amid global uncertainty

Pay hikes this year have been lower than last year - and are likely to be down again next year amid greater global uncertainty, according to a new survey.

But variable bonuses rose a tad this year, by 0.3 months to 2.5 months, and is forecast to be down to 2.4 months next year.

Global management consultancy Hay Group said in a report released yesterday that salaries are likely to rise 4.2 per centin 2015, down from the average rise of 4.3 per cent for the year ended March 1 this year.

In contrast, salaries rose by an average of 4.9 per cent in the same period a year earlier.

Hay Group surveyed 110 Singapore-based public and private firms across more than 22 sectors.

"(The lower 2015 pay forecast is because) 11 per cent of organisations are expecting business performance to be worse than targeted levels in 2014, signalling increasing uncertainty on global economic conditions," said Mr Victor Chan, Hay Group's regional general manager (ASEAN) for productised services.

Employees in the retail sector enjoyed the biggest pay rises of 5.3 per cent in the last 12 months to March 1.

This was followed by those in the industrial goods and fast-moving consumer goods sectors, which had 5.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent pay rises respectively.

Hay Group projected that employees in the industrial goods sector can look forward to the highest pay rise of 4.8 per cent, in the 12 months from March 1.

Employees in the oil and gas, chemicals, and leisure and hospitality sectors are expected to come in second, with pay rises of 4.5 per cent.

The report noted that "with the labour shortage conundrum, hiring remains a major focus for 2014".

It said that in the 12 months to March 1, 31 per cent of organisations surveyed hired more than 20 per cent of their workforce.

Engineering jobs were most in demand, followed by jobs in administration, support and service, and in sales.

Mr Alvin Ang, managing director of Quantum Leap Career Consultancy, agreed there was a lack of candidates at the moment.

"Engineering is a niche market, but many engineering graduates move into finance and other sectors rather than engineering, creating this false demand, as schools are actually producing enough engineers."

He said demand for engineers would continue to be high in the near future.

But engineering is also making headway: "Technology is getting more advanced and engineers need specific skill sets. If schools are able to train them in these skill sets, companies should see fit to pay accordingly."

Financial services recruitment firm Astbury Marsden also noted yesterday that candidates in the financial services job market were optimistic, with the Astbury Marsden Candidate Optimism Index at 64.4, its highest level in a year. A score of 50 or higher demonstrates a positive sentiment on jobs.

The firm found that 35 per cent of all Singapore-based banks and financial services businesses surveyed expanded their recruitment activity in the first quarter of this year, up from 15 per cent six months ago, boosting job candidates' optimism.

Mr Mark O'Reilly, Astbury Marsden's managing director for the Asia-Pacific, said: "Hiring for roles in regulation, internal audit, compliance and IT security all remain strong as the banks respond to continued pressure from the regulators.

This article was first published on June 04, 2014. 
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