HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore returnees face mismatched salary expectations: report

45% are willing to accept the same pay despite unsuitable job opportunities back home.

Singapore returnees, who have studied or worked outside the city state, are one of the least expectant when it comes to salary expectations, with almost half (45%) willing to accept the same remuneration as when they were working overseas, compared to only a third across Asia, a report by recruitment consultancy firm Hays revealed.

However, those who are returning after working or studying in another country face several challenges when searching for jobs back home.

Hays noted that more than half or 53% of returnees stated that the main challenge was “unsuitable job opportunities” due to a mismatch of skills to jobs or roles available. Other hurdles in searching for jobs include “unsuitable remuneration” (45%) and “unfamiliarity with local job market conditions” (39%).

According to the 2019 Hays Overseas Returnee Report, more than eight in 10 employers (82%) are eager to hire an overseas returnee in the next 12 months, but only 39% said that they were able to do so. Employers cited “mismatch in expectations of offer packages” (65%) as the most prominent factor for not hiring returnees, followed by “candidates with lack of local work experience” (36%) and “candidate drop out” (22%).

Whilst Singapore’s returnees expressed willingness to accept a pay equivalent or lower to what they were receiving overseas, the study stated that 54% of employers were keen to offer premium salary packages to overseas returnees with suitable experience over local talent, with respondents from both sides citing “cross-cultural awareness” as the most favoured skill, followed closely by language and communication skills.

The report also found that more than six in 10 (62%) employers were utilising recruitment agencies to find qualified returnees, in contrast to only two in five (37%) overseas returnees going to a recruiter. In addition, 32% or returnees used search engines such as Google or Yahoo to seek job openings, but only 11% of employers are doing so.

“The mismatch in the utilisation of platforms for both job and candidate seekers could represent missed opportunities,” the report stated.

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