Compensation levels for back and middle office staff at financial institutions in Singapore are rising, according to a new survey, but it seems the extra money just isn’t enough. Employees have greater expectations when it comes to their earnings.
The report from recruitment firm Robert Half found that 52 per cent of respondents enjoyed salary rises over the last 12 months. For their 2009 work, 71 per cent received a bonus and 78 per cent think they will get one for this year.
Compared with their counterparts in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Singaporean firms were the first to increase salaries and also raised them by the most.
But here’s the catch: despite the pay hikes, a significant number of respondents (46 per cent) believe their remuneration is neither fair nor in line with the market.
“Salary expectations among employees are now much higher as the hiring market becomes increasingly robust and the talent crunch deepens,” comments Tim Hird, director of Robert Half Singapore.
The discontent simmering in Singapore’s back and middle office may lead to retention problems for firms that do not properly address pay issues with their staff.
But what has caused the problem? Many financial institutions froze or cut salaries in late 2008 and 2009, so employees feel they have missed an additional 12 to 18 months worth of increases, on top of what they are due this year.
Keeping it real
However, Dr Ernest Kan, president of the Institute of Certified Public Accounts of Singapore, says candidates need to be realistic about salary packages, even as the employment market moves in their favour.
He advises to always benchmark your role and make an educated decision about how much you are really worth. “It’s easy when there’s lots of good economic news for employees to jump on this and think they are being underpaid, so benchmark,” Kan warns.
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