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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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1 in 5 professionals expect a 10% salary increase in 2019: survey

Singapore professionals rated their salary satisfaction at 5.9 on a scale of 1-10.

One in five or 23% of professionals in Singapore expect salary increments of more than 10% in 2019, whilst 10% of hiring managers said they would offer such increases, according to Robert Walters’ latest salary survey.

On average, candidates can expect increments of seven to 15% when moving jobs. Singaporean professionals rated their salary satisfaction at 5.9 on a scale of 1-10, the survey found.

In the commerce sector, tech professionals are unlikely to see double digit increases in salaries, particularly for traditional IT jobs.

“Companies, particularly startups, are looking to reduce costs which is why salary offers are likely to remain relatively stable, with minimal increments of 5-15% for traditional IT roles,” Robert Walters stated in its report. “However, larger increments are expected for candidates with niche skill sets.”

The commerce sectors may also experience high demand in the healthcare, media, insurance, logistics, e-commerce, payments and consultancy industries. Cyber security professionals will also be in demand as companies look to strengthen their security after a recent chain of high-profile cyber attacks within the country.

Also read: Digital skills and social media activeness amongst top talent trends for 2019 

Meanwhile, tech professionals in the commerce sectors can expect salary increments between 10-20% in 2019 given that salaries remained stable in 2018.

For junior and mid-level accounting and finance roles within commerce sectors, candidates can anticipate 10-15% pay rises when moving jobs. Salaries for senior levels on the other hand are expected to rise minimally due to increased competition and fewer opportunities. Accounting and finance employees in the financial sector will also remain at similar levels going into 2019.

On the financial services front, the rise of ecommerce and fintech startups will likely put pressure on financial, insurance and banking firms to improve their digital propositions.

“Organisations are looking to implement cloud technologies in compliance with the latest codes of practice,” Robert Walters added. “This will drive demand for cloud specialists with a good understanding of regulations set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).”

Also read: MAS intensifies bout against cyberthreats for FIs

Likewise, cyber security professionals and candidates with experience in virtualisation, data science and change management will also be in demand in the financial sector.

According to the survey, risk professionals received 3-5% YoY salary increases in 2018 and this is expected to continue in 2019. The hiring market was observed to be relatively modest in 2018, though demand for mid-level and senior professionals who can work together and act as a first line of defence was seen. Demand for such roles is expected to remain strong in 2019.

Human resources (HR) professionals saw their salaries remain stagnant with relatively conservative wage increases in 2018. This is projected to change in 2019, as based on Robert Walters’ survey, HR employees can expect their pay to increase with promotion and development, or when moving jobs.

On the hiring front, the report stated that online and technology firms may continue to recruit aggressively in 2019 by offering attractive remuneration packages and career development opportunities to secure talented HR professionals.

“For the technology sector, it will be challenging to hire good talent acquisitions professionals as such roles require candidates to have strong technical understanding,” Robert Walters noted.

Also read: Singapore still hungry for more fraud detectors

Meanwhile, lawyers in the financial services sector can expect their salaries to remain relatively stable in 2019 with a maximum average salary increment of 15% anticipated when moving jobs, the survey highlighted. Those in the commerce sectors, particularly senior lawyers, looking to move jobs can also expect increments of up to 15%.

“There is a slight oversupply of junior lawyers which has led some to taking salary cuts when looking for their first in-house role,” Robert Walters noted. “We expect the same in 2019.”

Hiring wise, Robert Walters projected that there will be a strong demand for lawyers specialising in technology and specialised fields such as derivatives, technology law and blockchain. In addition, lawyers with expertise in intellectual property rights and and counterfeiting will remain in demand as Singapore provides some of the most robust protection for intellectual property in the region.

Overall, talent with strong industry expertise and relevant digital skills will remain highly sought after as digitalisation is expected to remain a key focus for firms in Singapore in 2019.

“We encourage companies to consider hiring candidates who may not fulfill all the requirements but demonstrate high potential, as the best candidates looks for roles they can grow into,” Rob Bryson, managing director for Robert Walters Singapore, said in the report. “Employers demonstrating that they have the right teams and systems in place to support a candidate’s success in a role are also better positioned to secure top talent.” 

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