According to popular theory, salary is often the main motivator for employees in Singapore to switch jobs.
However, work-life balance may be overtaking salary in the minds of previously mercenary Singaporean candidates.
According to a survey by recruiter Robert Half, among 500 Singaporean jobseekers, one in four office workers would leave their current organisation to get a better work-life balance, followed closely by 24% who refer to financial rewards and 23% citing career development.
Another 16% refer to management/leadership and 5% to co-workers as being the primary reason why they would leave the organisation.
Even though work-life balance is increasingly becoming a key motivator for Singapore professionals, salary remains a crucial incentive to attract and retain top talent, especially hard-to-find professionals.
In a market characterised by growing skills shortages, the finance and accounting sector is a perfect example of this. All Singaporean CFOs say it is challenging to find qualified finance and accounting professionals, with many planning to award above-average salary increases to their top finance employees this year.
In addition, an overwhelming majority (99%) of Singaporean CFOs plan to award pay rises to an average of 25% of their finance staff, with the average salary increase expected to be about 7%.
This positive salary sentiment is a wider reflection on increasing national wage growth, with a 4.3% increase in average income in 2017, versus an increase of 2.7% in 2016.
Singaporean finance employers understand the importance of having a well-developed retention policy to achieve business goals.
Almost all (99%) of Singaporean CFOs state they have in place employee retention initiatives within their organisation, with more than half (57%) offering training and professional development programs.
About half offer flexible working arrangements, such as the option to work from home. Just under half are implementing employee appreciation programs and 47% have in place employee wellness programs. Over four in 10 are conducting regular salary reviews.
“Salary remains a significant part of a remuneration package in Singapore and companies realise that they have to offer above-average salary packages to secure high-calibre professionals,” said Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director at Robert Half Singapore.
“However, there’s been a steady shift of preferences from jobseekers who are looking for more work-life balance, and even prioritise non-financial incentives other than just a higher salary.
“Companies looking to attract and retain top performers need to consider other non-financial incentives, such as workplace flexibility and the option to work from home, especially if they are not in a position to award pay increases or above-average salary rates.”