HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Is your boss trying to buy you off with free days off instead of cash for overtime ?

If so, you are not alone with companies employing this and other tricks to avoid paying employees more, read to see what else they are doing.

Mentoring programs are also seen as a non cash benefit as is paid leave for external training. All of this because companies don’t want to pay employees more.

Here are more comments from   Randstad Regional Director, Singapore & Malaysia, Karin Clarke on the Ministry of Manpower’s Q1 Labour Force Report.

Unemployment hits three year low

“With fewer workers laid off in the first quarter of 2011 and unemployment at a three-year low at 1.9 per cent, the war for talent in Singapore is certainly heating up.

“As we face this challenging market, employers will need to make workforce productivity and talent management their top priorities. To negate the tight labour market, companies need to provide staff with clear career progression opportunities, offer innovative reward and recognition programs, and have forward-thinking retention practices.

“We are also seeing the return of skills training and development, which is a particularly high priority for the Millennials generation. Striking the right balance between recruiting new talent and keeping existing talent motivated will be the key to driving sustainable business growth,” Ms Clarke said.

Earnings on the rise

“We are seeing wage pressure in Singapore with nominal monthly earnings rising by 8.5 percent over the year in the first quarter of 2011. Employees are demanding higher wages, not only as a reward for their performance, but also to keep pace with higher inflation and increased living costs.

“Some companies are offering non-financial incentives to employees such as a day-in-lieu as a reward for overtime, paid leave to attend external training, mentoring or management fast-track programs to help with career development. This two-pronged approach to retention will assist to keep labour turnover low in this tight labour market,” Ms Clarke said.

Productivity remains a focus

“According to the MOM Q1 Labour Market Report, growth in productivity levelled off at 4.5 per cent in the first quarter, down from 7.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2010. While productivity is cyclical, companies should apply a consistent strategy to improve productivity levels.

“In an office environment, this could translate to providing additional training and development to upskill staff, or improving technological uptake with employees. There is a clear need for smart people strategies to keep pace with Singapore’s growth,” Ms Clarke said.


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