Pay increases and bonuses set to fall for rest of the year

Raises to dip to 4.6% with promotion, bonus of 2.1 months expected: Survey

Salary increases and bonuses in Singapore are set to fall for the rest of this year, according to a Tower Watson survey of 101 companies.

The findings of the 2013 Singapore HR Trends Survey released yesterday showed that salary increases from April to December this year are expected to fall to 4.6 per cent including promotion and to 3.8 per cent excluding promotion.

Companies are expected to pay variable bonuses of 2.1 months of base pay during the nine-month period.

In the first three months ended March 31, salaries rose 4.7 per cent including promotion and 4.1 per cent excluding promotion. Variable bonuses totalled 2.4 months of base pay during the period.

From April to December, the government sector is expected to give the highest salary increase at 7.9 per cent including promotion.

In comparison, the biotechnology and telecommunications sectors are forecast to post the lowest salary increase at 3.3 per cent.

However, salary increases and bonuses are expected to pick up next year. Salaries are projected to rise 4.9 per cent including promotion and 4.3 per cent excluding promotion. Meanwhile, variable bonuses are expected to increase to 2.5 months of base pay.

The report also looked at other human resource issues, including staff turnover and bonus components.

The biotechnology and biomedical industry had the highest staff turnover rate at 20 per cent from April last year to April this year, while the telecommunications industry had the lowest turnover at 4 per cent.

On the issue of bonus components, about 52.5 per cent of the companies surveyed said they consider both fixed and variable bonuses when pegging bonuses, while 45.5 per cent of them consider only the variable bonus component.

In terms of variable bonus payout from April to December, the financial services industry is projected to be the most generous, giving 3.6 months of base pay.

But for next year, the automotive industry is expected to dish out the highest variable bonus at 3.9 months of base pay.

The survey also explored the issue of paternity leave.

While married Singaporean fathers are entitled to one week of government-paid paternity leave, capped at $2,500, from May 1, most firms surveyed are prepared to extend this benefit to permanent residents and non-Singaporeans, subject to various conditions.

But employers want their staff to use up the paternity leave within a year from the birth of their children.

Another issue covered in the survey is flexible work arrangements - 69 per cent of the companies surveyed say they provide various options for staff to work away from the office. The three most popular flexible work options are flexi-hours, flexible start and end times, and telecommuting.