What do Singapore job seekers want? Here's what a Hudson survey says

Visitors looking at the job listings displayed on boards at a job recruitment drive on May 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Visitors looking at the job listings displayed on boards at a job recruitment drive on May 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A higher salary is the top priority for Singapore job seekers in 2015 but this is replaced by better benefits for older professionals, while work-life balance and cultural fit have become important too, according to new research from recruitment specialist Hudson.

Hudson surveyed 519 professionals and hiring managers for its report on the "The State of Hiring in Singapore 2015".

Here are 5 key findings:

-- SOURCE: HUDSON*Data does not add up to 100 per cent as respondents were asked to give more than one response

1. Salary and benefits still top the list overall

Three-quarters - 75 per cent - of those surveyed cite a bigger pay cheque as their number one priority.

Combined with better benefits at 67 per cent, it shows that compensation is still key.

"With Singapore named the world's most expensive city in 2014 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, money and benefits dominate job seekers' agendas," said Hudson Singapore Regional director Emmanuel White. "To attract top-tier candidates, businesses need to ensure they offer competitive rewards and packages."

2. But priorities shift with age: Better benefits is top for older professionals

Said Hudson: "After the age of 50, something interesting happens: salary drops off as the primary driver and benefits become more important, while cultural fit climbs to second place on the priority list."

3. Work-life balance a key factor

It's fourth on the list with 64 per cent choosing it as a top priority when seeking a new job.

"Singaporeans are working longer hours than ever, and in such a time-poor environment it's not surprising to see work-life balance assume more importance," said Mr White. "Squeezing in time for family and leisure is now a major goal for many professionals."

Organisations should define what work-life balance they can offer and be open to refining it for individual candidates," said Hudson.

4. Rise in importance of cultural fit

That this once unfamiliar concept is now a top five priority by many Singapore professionals is noteworthy.

Said Hudson: "Cultural fit means different things to different people but at its heart, it's about belonging.

"For hiring managers, it's never been more important therefore to not only understand what individual candidates want and value but to define and hone an organisation's own cultural offering and its own employer brand."

5. Nine in 10 are ready to jump ship - with men far outnumbering women

Hudson found that nine in 10 (92 per cent) of those surveyed were open to being approached by recruiters, with eight in 10 (81 per cent) having an up-to-date CV.

It also found that men were more ready to jump ship. Of those open to being approached, 62 per cent were men and only 38 per cent women.

"If nine in 10 Singapore professionals are open to hearing about new job opportunities, how confident are employers of their people's loyalty?" said Hudson.

"The quest for talent is far from over and organisations that don't make their people feel important, that don't help them stay engaged, grow their skills and unlock their potential, will lose them," said the firm.