Monday, December 12, 2011

Bankers net highest pay increase this year: survey

Bankers received the highest average salary increases last year, according to a survey by global management consultancy Hay Group.

A survey it conducted in September 2011, covering over 480 Singapore-based companies (local and foreign-owned) from both the private and public sectors, revealed that the top three sectors with the highest salary increases (excluding pay freeze) are Banking and Financial Services (7.0 per cent), Transportation (4.9 per cent) and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) (4.6 per cent).

Actual average salary increases (excluding pay freeze) are 4.4 per cent for 2011 while average salary increases for 2012 are forecasted at 4.4 per cent.

Mr Victor Chan, Regional General Manager (Singapore and ASEAN) for Productized Services, Hay Group, said: "Traditionally, the market trend around actual and forecast for salaries indicates a higher salary forecast for the following year. This time around, we've observed that the forecast is stagnant. Although the outlook for 2012 is less optimistic, the tight labour market in Singapore will nevertheless ensure that salary increments remain positive."

In terms of bonuses, the report (Bracing for an unpredictable economy) showed that the actual average variable bonus (i.e. performance-based bonuses excluding annual wage supplement, contractual bonuses) is 2.7 months for a 12-month period. This is slightly more than the average of 2.3 months in 2010.

Senior management will have something to cheer about this festive period, receiving the highest average bonus payout of 3.6 months. Middle management will look forward to 2.8 months, the second highest average bonus payout, while junior professionals and clerical support will receive an average bonus payout of 2.4 months and 2.2 months respectively.

The forecast average variable bonus payout is 2.7 months for the coming 12 months.

As a reflection of the downward business sentiment, only 46 per cent of the surveyed organisations plan to increase staffing levels by five to 10 per cent, compared to 62 per cent this time last year.

According to the report, the employee group in high demand are technical specialists (62 per cent) and junior professionals (47 per cent). Middle mnagement is seeing the highest cutback among the groups at 35 per cent.

Going by job functions, the main focus of recruitment is on Engineering (30 per cent), Sales (29 per cent), Finance & Accounting (27 per cent) and Administration/Support Service (27 per cent).

In its report today, Hay Group said that for companies to thrive in the current global economic uncertainty, companies have to differentiate their reward and employee engagement initiatives for high-performing talent.

"In light of the subdued economic outlook, companies are looking once again at how to do more with less. Hence, having employees who are willing to go the extra mile is critical for business success.

However, their discretionary efforts will be wasted if companies do not support them for success e.g. by removing red-tape, providing adequate resources. Otherwise, their additional efforts will not translate into business results," said Mr Chan.

The survey also showed that talent retention is still a major focus for companies, with 88 per cent of surveyed organisations looking into retaining and engaging their workforce.

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