Pay rise may not be enough to retain staff

Ms Alena Salakhova (above), Singapore regional director at recruitment firm Hudson, which carried out the study involving 3,500 employers and employees in Asia, said employers were looking for candidates who can influence effectively, and who are ada
Ms Alena Salakhova, Singapore regional director at recruitment firm Hudson, which carried out the study involving 3,500 employers and employees in Asia, said employers were looking for candidates who can influence effectively, and who are adaptable and resilient.ST FILE PHOTO

9 in 10 polled expect a pay rise at next review but only 4 in 10 say they will stay with more pay

Even a near-term pay rise may not be enough to retain employees here, a new survey has found.

It found that almost 90 per cent of employees polled expect their base salary to increase at their next review, but only 40 per cent said that more money would be enough for them to stay with their organisation for another year.

The survey found that in a competitive hiring market - where 88 per cent of Singaporean employers are either increasing headcount or replacing staff who leave - most professionals are keeping an eye on the market in case there are better opportunities elsewhere.

Only 16 per cent of employees surveyed here said they were planning to stay in their current job, while 29 per cent were seeking a change. The remaining 55 per cent said they were open to new opportunities.

"Professionals want to keep their options open, especially those who have niche skill sets or technical skills, as they know they are in high demand," said Ms Alena Salakhova, Singapore regional director at recruitment firm Hudson, which carried out the study involving 3,500 employers and employees in Asia.

"Professionals are managing their digital profiles and maintaining relationships with specialist recruiters so they can be alerted to good opportunities... even if they're happy in their current organisation or, indeed, even if they receive a pay rise," Ms Salakhova noted.

When asked about what they expect from their next pay review with their manager, 25 per cent of the employees polled said they expected their base salary to increase by 0 per cent to 5 per cent; 45 per cent expected a rise between 6 per cent and 10 per cent; and 17 per cent expected a jump of over 10 per cent. Only 13 per cent expected their pay to remain the same, and less than 1 per cent expected a decrease.

Ms Alena Salakhova (above), Singapore regional director at recruitment firm Hudson, which carried out the study involving 3,500 employers and employees in Asia, said employers were looking for candidates who can influence effectively, and who are ada
Ms Alena Salakhova (above), Singapore regional director at recruitment firm Hudson, which carried out the study involving 3,500 employers and employees in Asia, said employers were looking for candidates who can influence effectively, and who are adaptable and resilient. ST FILE PHOTO

But a pay rise alone does not guarantee that good employees will stay. When asked if they would stay with their organisation for another year on the back of a salary increase, 42 per cent of the employees said "yes", while 44 per cent were unsure and 14 per cent said "no".

The report listed the three biggest challenges for employers when hiring new staff: finding candidates with the relevant technical and soft skills, and hiring those with the right cultural fit for the team.

Ms Salakhova said employers were looking for candidates who can influence effectively, as well as characteristics such as adaptability and resilience, as organisations respond to changing markets and new digital technologies.

The report noted the top three job functions most in demand for the financial services industry are financial crime compliance, KYC or know-your-customer functions, and internal audit. The technology sector wants IT business partnering, cyber security management and software development management.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2017, with the headline 'Pay rise may not be enough to retain staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe