In Focus
FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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One in 10 firms forecast 0-5% revenue declines in 2019

Only 37% of businesses expect moderate growth between 5-15%.

Singapore firms are less optimistic over their business trajectories in the remaining six months, with 10% of firms expecting possible declines in revenues between 0-5%, a survey by Korn Ferry revealed.

The poll, which analysed responses from 110 organisations across 19 sectors in Singapore, found a two-fold decrease in companies predicting growth of more than 15%, from 10% in 2018 to 5% in 2019. Only 37% of businesses expecting moderate growth between 5-15%.

Also read: Singapore CEOs less bullish on revenue growth than global peers

The global economic slowdown, strong global competition and a talent shortage were identified as the main factors dragging overall business performance in the coming months. Out of the sectors surveyed, the oil & gas, transportation and construction & materials sectors were found to be the hardest hit by the global economic slowdown. “Notably, there was also a significant increase in companies that were concerned about the impact of technology disruption compared to last year, from 25% in 2018 to 38% this year, as well as the ongoing US-China trade war (23%),” Korn Ferry said.

Also read: Manufacturing PMI falls to 49.9 in May after 32-month expansion streak

In an attempt to cushion themselves from the volatile business landscape, companies in Singapore were observed to have turned their focus to external growth strategies such as planning expansions and increasing competitiveness by capturing market share. As well, they were found to be implementing multiple actions to support cost management. These comprised of plans over the next two years to redesign work processes (67%), and reducing business-related travel expenses (55%), which were the most popular initiatives companies noted were effective in terms of managing costs.

In terms of talent management, 80% of firms are focusing on making their compensation and benefits packages more competitive, whilst 62% are looking to link performance management with rewards.

Also read: Over half of Singapore's workforce unsatisfied with their current job: report

“This is equally crucial as dissatisfaction with their compensation package is cited as one of the top reasons for turnover amongst employees (37%), as well as a lack of career progression (52%) and working relations with supervisors (30%),” Korn Ferry added. Workers in the IT/Telecommunications and High Technology sectors were observed to cite lack of career progression as their main reason for leaving.

“Companies should focus not only on attracting new employees, but also on retaining their existing talent pool. Some initiatives that they could explore include monitoring and designing employee experience across the whole employee life cycle in the organization through ongoing listening of employees' voices, as well as balancing the financial and non-financial aspects of reward packages they offer to attract and retain employees,” Mirka Kowalczuk, head of pay & engagement delivery for Asia-Pacific at Korn Ferry said in a statement. 

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