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    Jan 22, 2014

    Market math suggests job-hopping

    TWO different surveys on the job market in Singapore appear to lead to one conclusion: This could be a year of massive job hopping.

    A salary survey by specialist recruitment firm Hays indicates that most employers are looking at giving their staff conservative salary increases of 3 to 6 per cent.

    Separately, a survey by another recruiting giant, Robert Walters, found that successful Singaporean job applicants can expect to see a 15 to 20 per cent pay hike.

    In other words, the rewards are meagre for those who stay on in their jobs but handsome for those that find new ones. Also, 70 per cent of employees here want to switch jobs.

    Singapore Human Resources Institute president Erman Tan said that it is possible for more Singaporeans to jump ship, as their new jobs are likely to come with a bigger salary increment than that of their current positions.

    However, he stressed that Singaporeans should not approach the figures "blindly".

    "Today's economy is very competitive. Companies that offer competitive pay increments also expect you to deliver the goods," noted Mr Tan.

    But the temptation to switch jobs might be high, as companies watch costs while trying to attract talent.

    Some 27 per cent of employers expect to dole out a pay increase of less than 3 per cent or none at all to their staff.

    Another 56 per cent plan to offer salary hikes of between 3 and 6 per cent, while only 17 per cent will give increments beyond 6 per cent.

    Hays retrieved the information from over 2,600 employers and placements it made in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Japan.

    "Cost control has lowered the ceiling for salary increases in many organisations across Asia," said Mr Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Singapore and Malaysia. "Employers are more focused on the bottom line."

    The Robert Walters survey suggested that employers may have to offer big jumps to attract talent.

    "With the increasing competition for top Singaporean talent amid a tightening candidate pool, employers are becoming increasingly aware that they have to attract the best talent in the market with competitive employment packages," explained Mr Toby Fowlston, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore.

    The survey also found that 70 per cent of the respondents are looking to switch jobs this year.

    But Mr Michael Smith, country director of Randstad Singapore, said: "Rather than simply job hop in search of a higher salary, it is important for an employee to stay in a job for at least 21/2 years to learn the necessary skills and build a robust employment record for their curriculum vitae."