Few Singapore Employers Plan to Freeze Salaries in 2021: Survey, Government and Economy

Friday, November 20, 2020-5:50 AM


The percentage of Singapore-based employers will be suspended in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the results of two surveys released Thursday.

In a Mercer survey of 992 companies in 16 industries in Singapore, a quarter of respondents said they plan to introduce or continue payroll freezes next year. This is less than 30% of this year.

Similarly, an ECA International poll found that 22% of employers will continue to freeze salaries next year, starting with 36% this year.

According to an annual total compensation survey by consulting firm Mercer, about 3% of employers intend to reduce wages next year, compared to 29% this year.

However, most organizations take a wait-and-see approach as they continue to pay attention to salary increases while navigating the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a Mercer survey, the overall salary increase expected in 2021 in Singapore will soften slightly from 3.6% this year to 3.5%.

Wages can rise by an average of 3.6% for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), but only 3.4% for non-PMETs, Mercer told Business Times. Can be a small increase. The 992 companies surveyed by Mercer employ a total of approximately 260,000 individuals, 32% of whom are non-PMET.

“Companies remain cautiously optimistic and are looking at more comprehensive talent strategies to inspire their employees to new forms of work,” said Mercer, CEO of Peta Latimer, Singapore. He added that some are developing additional incentives. “Leaders are also looking forward to attracting and retaining the talent needed to accelerate the digitization of their businesses.”

Salaries in the banking and financial sector and the tech sector are expected to grow at a steady rate over the next year.

The logistics and consumer goods industries will see slightly larger increases of 3.3% and 3.5%, respectively, compared to the 3.1% and 3.4% increases this year. This “correlates with the shift of consumer buying behavior online,” said Clapary Tobing, career product leader at Mercer in Singapore.

In contrast, wage growth is expected to slow next year in the life sciences, real estate, chemicals and lifestyle retail sectors. Lifestyle retail employees will see a 2.9% increase in salary in 2021 compared to a 3.3% increase in 2020, and the increment could be the sharpest decline.

Given the pandemic shift to online buying behavior, reduced discretionary spending capacity, and reduced leisure activity, Tobing said the prediction of low salary growth in the lifestyle retail industry is not surprising. It was.

Meanwhile, in a global situation, Singapore workers could receive one of the largest salary increases in the world next year, according to an ECA survey. In an ECA study, Singapore employers said they plan to raise wages by 3%, or 2.7% in real terms, after considering the projected inflation rate of 0.3% in 2021.

Singapore, Thailand and Colombia are all third in the world after Indonesia (3.8%) and Israel (2.8%), based on substantive salary increases.

The ECA Payroll Survey collected information from more than 370 multinationals in 68 markets.

The expected rise in Singapore’s workers’ salaries is primarily due to a decline in companies that freeze wages, said Lee Quan, ECA Asia Regional Director. In addition, city-states have consistently experienced low inflation in recent years, resulting in higher real salary increases compared to higher inflation countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Hong Kong, Quane added. It was.

Mercer also found that employers are facing intensifying competition for talent to support the digitization of their businesses. The most in demand are data scientists, IT solutions architects, business intelligence analysts, and cybersecurity engineers.

The role of supporting digitization attracts salary premiums, especially at the senior and specialist levels, compared to the general market. For example, a specialist with cybersecurity incident response analysis capabilities will receive a wage 33% higher than the median annual salary, while a robot process automation specialist will receive a premium 30% higher than the median level.

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