Expecting hefty bonus? Don't get your hopes up

The 2019 Bonus Expectations Survey was conducted in January and February 2019 and covered about 100 employers and 400 Singapore-based professionals across nine industries.
The 2019 Bonus Expectations Survey was conducted in January and February 2019 and covered about 100 employers and 400 Singapore-based professionals across nine industries.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

More than two in 10 employees surveyed by recruitment firm Randstad Singapore expect bonuses worth three to five months of their salaries this year.

But only 13 per cent of employers plan to give bonuses of that amount.

The majority of employers, or 66 per cent, plan to give bonuses of one to two months of salary, according to the 2019 Bonus Expectations Survey published yesterday.

More than half of the employees surveyed, or 57 per cent, think they will receive that amount.

"This highlights a misalignment in bonus expectations between employers and employees," said the survey report.

The inaugural survey, conducted in January and February this year, covered about 100 employers and 400 Singapore-based professionals across nine industries such as banking and financial services, information technology, manufacturing and construction.

In general, employees seemed more optimistic this year. Some 83 per cent said they expect a bonus this year, while only 52 per cent received a bonus last year.

Over a third, or 36 per cent, said they would start looking for a new job if they did not receive a bonus this year.

Randstad Singapore country director Jaya Dass said: "2018 was a great year of growth for businesses in Singapore and employees are expecting bonuses as a form of reward not just for their hard work, but also for their loyalty to the organisation."

To boost staff retention, managers should hold regular meetings to understand the challenges their teams are facing and resolve them together, she suggested.

  • 66%

  • Percentage of employers that plan to give bonuses of one to two months of salary, according to the 2019 Bonus Expectations Survey published yesterday.

The mismatch in expectations was more stark in the banking and financial services industry, where about a quarter of employees hope for bonuses of three to five months' salary, but only about one in 10 employers plans to pay out such bonuses.

In particular, employees working in wealth management and investment banks may receive bonuses that are slightly below expectations, the report noted.

Ms Lim Chai Leng, director of the banking and financial services team at Randstad Singapore, said employers must manage employees' expectations if they are going to be more conservative with bonus payouts this year.

She added that managers should highlight other rewards for employees, such as opportunities to train or work in a larger regional role.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Expecting hefty bonus? Don't get your hopes up'. Print Edition | Subscribe