In an on air discussion, James Miles sat down with CNA938 Money Mind to analyse key trends and insights that were extracted from our latest RGF Talent in Asia 2020 report. Covering topics such as salary trends and employee expectations, it was a meaningful observation about the Singapore job market. Download our RGF Talent in Asia 2020 report to obtain such key insights for Singapore and 10 other markets across Asia.
Are employers likely to allow workers to continue working from home? Any drop in productivity levels?
Based on our recent RGF Talent in Asia 2020 survey, we noted that 95% of employers in Singapore said they have implemented flexible work arrangements, and more than 60% of them plan to continue with these beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. With 65% of employees considering that such flexible work arrangements is a key factor to their work-life balance, this is definitely going to be a positive development for employees here.
Overall, employers have not seen any major decrease in productivity as they embrace remote working options. Many of them continue to utilise various methods of keeping talent engaged and motivated. Remote working and work from home initiatives were also being adopted gradually even prior to the pandemic, but with the impact of COVID-19 everyone was forced to adapt to such arrangements in a shorter time span. So, by now, both employers and employees are more used to working from home and we expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future.
What are the trends that stood out this year (in the region and in Singapore), compared to 2019?
The biggest trend for this year in Singapore and across the region is the rate of digital adoption. The pandemic forced everyone to look into accelerating technological capabilities and processes at work. And even in our personal lives, we can see how digital adoption impacted us as the majority of people turned to online delivery and shopping. In terms of employment, this translates into a huge demand of talent with digital skills as companies put more focus to ramp up their digital capabilities.
What motivates people in Singapore when they are looking for a job?
They key factors continue to be driven by compensation, with 64% of professionals saying that a salary increment would be their top reason for changing employers and 76% of employees stating that performance-based bonuses would also be a key consideration. However, outside of monetary elements, 43% of employees noted that the opportunity for career advancement would also remain a top priority for those who are considering new employment opportunities.
What are the differences in the demands of the Gen Y and Z group compared to Gen X and baby boomers in Singapore?
From our RGF Talent in Asia 2020 report, we have seen that in terms of career advancement, Generation Y and Generation Z employees consider career opportunities above salary and compensation. Whereas for the Baby Boomers and Generation X, management and leadership style is the biggest motivating factor for most of them, followed by career advancement and salary.
Men overall received a higher jump in wages than women when they changed jobs – why?
Yes, there is a difference but the difference is not a huge one. Recent research has shown that men can be slightly more comfortable and insistent when it comes to approaching their employers for salary negotiations as compared to women but as women move towards using different salary negotiating tactics that will help overcome the biases that hold them back, we will gradually start to see improvements here.
The pay rise expectations among Singapore respondents was 27%. But the average salary increase that employers provide is only 8%. How do you account for this dichotomy between expectation and reality?
We are seeing a combination of 2 factors in this current climate which are adding to this gap between expectations and reality. Firstly, the majority of all employers in Singapore have had smaller hiring budgets this year, with 44% of them citing this as their biggest challenge in 2020. On the other side we have seen a clear increase in salary expectations from employees when considering switching jobs due to the talent crunch, and the fact that demand for niche skill sets such as Cyber Security, Data Analytics and Software Development outweighs supply, particularly for the local Singaporean professionals with these key skill sets. When these two elements are combined we see a big contrast between expectations and reality.
What are hiring challenges faced by employers here?
As mentioned previously, lack of budget continues to be the biggest challenge for employers with 44% of them saying that their biggest challenge is coping with these smaller hiring budgets. In addition, it is also the need to build a stronger employer brand to attract the right candidates to their organisation with 41% of them stating that improving employer branding is their biggest challenge this year.
What qualities are they looking for in local talent?
Based on the survey, most employers prefer to hire candidates with similar industry knowledge and experience but we do see this changing as employers recognise that talent – that comes from another industry brings experiences and perspectives that can value-add their business. In terms of soft skills, over one-third of employers are looking for good team players and accountable & responsible talent. This is especially relevant for the workforce of the future where cross functional collaboration becomes key for a business to be able to quickly pivot and succeed.
With unemployment on the rise and the labour market evolving all across Asia, what advice do you have for workers?
With employers proactively investing and future-proofing their business and ensuring that workers are adaptable. It is important that workers focus on up skilling themselves in their own time as well as becoming more open-minded in accepting jobs that encourage them to go for courses to upgrade their skills.
Our full RGF Talent in Asia 2020 report is available here.