HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Want to know how much salary raise you can get in Singapore?

Robert Walters Singapore reveals that salary increments in the Lion City range between 10-30% across different sectors.

Hiring activity also seems to be robust in most sectors throughout 2011.

Here's more from Robert Walters Singapore's Market Update:

Human Resources

Hiring activity was relatively slower in the first half of the year, with employees holding off switching jobs as they waited for their bonus payouts and salary reviews. Although most companies had aggressive revenue targets, they were cautious in terms of hiring, and focused more on up-skilling existing employees’ capabilities and productivity in the form of training and development. Hiring levels picked up from March onwards, especially after bonuses were paid out.

In terms of salary expectations, candidates were seeking salary increments of at least 25% upon moving roles. However on the average, actual salary increments ranged between 12 to 15% across the board as companies continued to focus on cost-saving initiatives.

Salary levels and increments for HR candidates are likely to remain steady throughout 2011.

IT Banking

In general, IT candidates were motivated to move to companies whenever there were new IT projects with big budgets. IT developers however, placed more emphasis on getting a salary premium when switching jobs and were less concerned by the budget of IT projects. Despite the market showing signs of a moderate demand for IT candidates, middle management candidates commanded a salary premium with an increase of at least 15 to 25% when switching jobs.

In terms of salary expectations, we anticipate that candidates will be looking at a salary increment of about 25%. However, we foresee that salary increments will most likely be capped at around 20% as organisations remain cost-conscious and will be exercising more caution in utilising their headcount budgets. Candidates with specialist hybrid skill sets will however be able to command a higher salary premium.

View related report on banking professionals salary here.

Finance and Governance

The first half of the year saw strong recruitment levels across the back office functions, with European banks exhibiting the strongest hiring activity for such roles. Despite the economy being less buoyant in comparison with 2010, Singapore remained a strong entity in comparison with other significant financial services markets around the world.

Salary increments ranged between 10 to 20% for candidates who switched jobs. However, candidates with niche and highly sought-after skills in policy, compliance and product control areas were able to command salary increments of more than 25%.

View related report on fiinance and government salary here.


Employers are likely to prefer local or foreign-qualified lawyers who are already based in Singapore to reduce additional relocation costs. These candidates will also be more familiar with the local culture, hence requiring less time and training to get up to speed. Within the private practice sector, international and local law firms are likely to continue hiring across a variety of practice areas, with most international law firms focusing on locally qualified candidates. This preference remains the same for roles which require niche or specialist skill sets.

Salary levels are anticipated to remain conservative, with employers offering a premium for candidates with specialist legal skill sets across various levels of seniority.

Risk, Operations, and Projects

The first half of the year saw relatively high recruitment levels. We also observed that organisations tend to select candidates with at least an 80% job-fit, in addition to a preference for experienced candidates over fresh graduates.

As some candidates did not receive any bonus payouts and/or salary increments last year, they were expecting salary increments of 20 to 25% when switching jobs this year. On average, candidates who switched jobs received salary increases closer to the range of 10 to 15%, with the exception of talent with niche skill sets who were able to command salary increments of up to 20 to 25%.

Front Office

The private banking sector saw higher hiring activity, mainly due to a limited supply of strong and seasoned senior bankers in various markets. Junior associate or analyst level roles within corporate finance were also highly sought-after, in addition to relationship managers within the commercial and priority banking sectors.

Due to the increased job security, salary expectations for candidates who switched jobs ranged between 15 to 30%.

Salary levels are likely to remain steady throughout 2011 and will range between 15 to 25% for candidates who are looking to move.

Sales and Marketing (Financial Services)

Sales roles at the middle level are expected to be highly sought-after in line with the need for organisations to hit their sales targets. As the market shifted in favour of employees, salary expectations for candidates who switched jobs were particularly high and ranged between 25 to 30%, especially for those with niche skill sets. Candidates with marketing analytics, CRM, portfolio
management and usage experience will continue to be in demand.

We anticipate that recruitment activity across the board for the second half of the year will be buoyant. We expect to see healthy hiring activity in quarter three as employers are likely to fill roles quickly before tapering off to the bonus payout period in the last quarter. As a result of steady recruitment levels, salaries are likely to remain constant throughout 2011.

View related report on sales and marketing salary here.

Specialist Contracting

Recruitment activity remained constant as many companies entered the year with new headcounts in place, and chose to fill permanent headcounts before hiring contract staff. However, more contract roles opened up by the end of the first quarter, with many companies anticipating attrition after bonus payouts.

Candidates who switched jobs expected salary increments of 15 to 25%. Organisations were more willing to offer higher salaries to compensate contract candidates for giving up the benefits that typically come with a permanent role.

IT Contracting

Recruitment levels for IT positions within the IT&T industry remained low as various projects were in the process of being approved. However, there was a high demand for project and programme managers from IT services companies to work on large-scale global projects.

Salary increments ranged between 20 to 30% as candidates demanded a premium to take on contracting roles, due to the higher availability of permanent roles in the market. We also observed organisations being more open to contracting as a staffing solution, and hence they were willing to offer a slight salary premium to contractors.

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