Commentary
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Lynne Roeder

Work-life balance the key to staff retention in Singapore

BY LYNNE ROEDER

Employers will need to focus on retention this year as 37 percent of candidates in Singapore surveyed for the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide are currently looking for a new job. A further 48 percent are open to hearing about a fresh opportunity.

The newly released Salary Guide outlines the findings of candidate and employer research across five key nations – China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

Of the more than 3,000 employers representing over six million employees taking part in this year’s Guide, 34 percent are worried they already don’t have the right talent on board to achieve current business objectives. And 96 percent say skills shortages have the potential to impact business operations this year.

However, Hays research reveals that not only are many employees in Singapore already actively job hunting, 30 percent want to be in a new role within the next six months with a further 22 percent expecting to change jobs within the year.

With over a third of the workforce thinking about a move, employers need to pay close attention to what pushes an employee to start looking for a new job as well as their motivations for staying in the job they have.

According to the 2016 Guide the top motivators for job hunting identified by candidates in Singapore in order of preference are:

• Salary or benefits (43 percent)
• Lack of career progression in their current role (36 percent)
• Seeking new challenges (36 percent)
• Management style / company culture (29 percent)
• Lack of training or development opportunities (21 percent)
• Concerns about job security (17 percent)
• Work location (11 percent)
• Poor work-life balance (10 percent)
• Other (6 percent)

The key retention factors for employees in Singapore in order of preference are:

• Work-life balance (60 percent)
• Salary or benefits package (40 percent)
• Work location (37 percent)
• Career progression (31 percent)
• Management style / company culture (30 percent)
• Training or development opportunities (29 percent)
• Job security (26 percent)
• New challenges (23 percent)
• Other (4 percent)

Around the region, work-life balance is the key reason people stay with an employer in not only Singapore but China and Hong Kong too. In Japan career progression is the key while in Malaysia employees value salary most.

Since salary & benefits are the key motivator for candidates to look for a new job, what are candidates expecting this year? A sizeable 66 percent of candidates in Singapore that we surveyed did not ask for a pay rise in the last 12 months, but our research reveals that candidates have higher expectations for the year ahead which don’t match up to what employers are intending to offer.

In Singapore, a sizeable 32 percent of candidates surveyed expect a salary increase of more than 6 percent, but our research reveals that only 18 percent of employers in Singapore will award more than 6 percent increases this year.

Our advice to employers with modest salary intentions this year is to pay close attention to the other key benefits candidates and employees value most highly to ensure you can attract and retain the best talent in the year ahead.

At the same time, candidates should do their research and set realistic salary expectations before asking for a pay rise or intending to change jobs this year.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Lynne Roeder

Lynne Roeder

Lynne Roeder is Managing Director of Hays in Singapore. She has over 17 years of experience within the recruitment industry across the UK, Australia, and Asia. Prior to relocating to Singapore, Lynne was Regional Director of Hays in Australia, where she managed teams across the country in many specialisms.

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