Singapore workers to get 2.9% pay raise next year: Survey

Workers in Singapore can expect pay rises of about 2.9 per cent next year, once inflation is taken into account, down from last year, according to a survey released yesterday.

The poll noted that bosses are preparing to lift pay by about 4 per cent. However, with "Singapore transitioning from 0.3 per cent deflation this year to 1.1 per cent inflation next year, real wage increases for employees will take a hit".

The generous 4.3 per cent average real wage increases enjoyed this year will not be seen next year, it added.

"The open, trade-dominated economy of Singapore is withstanding the deceleration of growth in China reasonably well, but is nevertheless experiencing a slowdown itself," said Mr Lee Quane, director for Asia at human resources firm ECA International, which released the annual survey of about 260 firms including large local companies and multinationals, from 72 countries.

What you should do if you are promoted without a pay rise

  • Everything thinks a promotion is something to be happy about. But guess what - a promotion could mean you end up doing extra work for the same pay.
  • A recent news report showed that it's actually quite common for companies to Singapore to promote their workers without giving them a salary increase.
  • If you've gotten the short end of the stick and your company has tried this trick and promoted you without increasing your salary, here are four things you should do.
  • There is no doubt that if you're promoted without a raise, and your employer doesn't intend to give you one in the near future, it's time to leave the company.
  • But don't resign right away. Depending on your situation, you might be able to pick up a few extra skills in your new role that will enable you to command a much higher pay when you finally do get a new job.
  • The main thing is to make sure you don't stay in your current job longer than you have to, since you're being undercut salary-wise.
  • When you receive that promotion, ask your boss when and by how much he'll be able to increase your pay. If they act evasive or you aren't satisfied with the answer, it's probably better to start actively searching for a new job.
  • The fact that you've been promoted already means you've been at the company for a decent amount of time, so you won't have to fear looking like a job hopper.
  • Unless you've already got another job, you'll remain at your current company for a few more months. So you should negotiate the compensation package and point out that you're being asked to take on a more demanding role for the same pay.
  • Obviously you should try to negotiate for a salary increase. But if they refuse, at least try to get some perks-an extra day or two of annual leave, sponsorship for a training course, transport allowance for all those late nights or a flexible work arrangement.

The expected 2.9 per cent average pay rise in Singapore next year would be higher than the estimated average of 2.6 per cent across the rest of the Asia-Pacific region studied by ECA.

Malaysia-based workers should see a similar pattern emerge, said ECA.

The forecast for real wage increases is 2 per cent next year, from 3.1 per cent experienced this year, owing to rising inflation.

Mr Quane said that low unemployment continues to "exert upward pressure" on wages in Malaysia, but as labour costs here are higher than in rival economies, investors tend to move.

The regional economic slowdown is contributing to rising inflation, which is why those in Malaysia will be worse off next year.

After taking inflation into account, the biggest pay rises in the Asia-Pacific are forecast for Vietnam, where companies are expecting 5.4 per cent increases on average.

It is also offering the second- highest global real wage increase next year.

Hong Kongers will see their salaries rise an average of 4 per cent again next year, but after factoring in inflation - tipped at 2.6 per cent in 2017 - they will experience the third-lowest wage rise in the Asia- Pacific, estimated to be a 1.4 per cent increase in real terms.

Mr Quane added that China's downturn is reducing demand and trade throughout the region and this is affecting places such as Singapore, with rising inflation forecast next year.

Salaries to expect in Singapore 2016 (per annum): Robert Walters

  • Cyber security specialist: $110k-$250k, up from $100k-$200k in 2015
  • IT database administrator: $70k-$220k, up from $70k-$175k in 2015
  • IT applications developer: $70k-$150k, up from $70k-$120k in 2015
  • IT applications development manager: $100k-$200k, up from $84k-$170k in 2015
  • Finance manager (Accounting):$80k-$120k, up from $70-110k in 2015
  • Senior auditor/auditor (Accounting): $70k-$100k, flat from 2015
  • Private banking anaylst/associate: $50k-$90k, flat from 2015
  • Compliance advisory/research analyst/associate: $50k-$90k, up from $45k-$90k in 2015
  • Consumer/retail banking associate: $45k-70k, flat from 2015
  • Investment banking associate: $50k-$90k, up slightly from $50k-$85k in 2015
  • General/core compliance associate: $50k-$75k, up from $45k-$75k in 2015
  • Corporate/M&A lawyering: $70k-$140k, flat from 2015
  • Key sales/marketing account manager (consumer): $70k-$100k, flat from 2015
  • Marketing manager (consumer): $100k-$120k+, flat from 2015

This article was first published on November 10, 2016.
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