22 July 2008

S'pore professionals expect a big incentive to jump ship
40% want a pay hike of 20-30% - figures mirror trend in Asia
By Chua Hian Hou

NEWS that Singapore's economy is slowing down has apparently not reached local job-seekers, who continue to expect bumper salary increases when jumping ship.

A survey of 846 professionals found that 95 per cent expect increments of at least 10 per cent, while 23 per cent want a whopping pay hike of 30 per cent or more before making the move.
Forty per cent expect smaller increments of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent, while 32 per cent of the people surveyed by recruitment firm Robert Walters would take a 10 per cent to 20 per cent raise as an incentive to change jobs.

These results mirrored those in other parts of Asia in a global poll of 3,500 professionals around the world.
Expectations were highest in China, with 59 per cent of the respondents saying they wanted a minimum 30 per cent pay hike before they would jump ship. All job hunters there were looking forward to at least 10 per cent.

Things, however, were not as bullish elsewhere.
Expectations in Europe, the United States and Oceania were more modest, with most expecting an increase of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. The Netherlands was the most pessimistic, with 26 per cent expecting increments of 10 per cent or less.

Mr Mark Ellwood, Robert Walters' managing director for Singapore, said the survey showed that 'Asian candidates are still quite bullish about the job market'.
He warned, though, that job-seekers' expectations might be overly 'ambitious', noting that a 20-per-cent pay hike 'would still be a considerable increase'.

Mr Ellwood said many multinational employers were based in the US or Europe, 'and they will be looking at costs very carefully'.
Job-seekers, he added, should be careful, lest they 'find they are pricing themselves out of the market'.
Singapore Human Resources Institute executive director David Ang also urged job hunters to look beyond the numbers and take a close look at themselves before asking for flattering increments.
'For selected people with the right experience, in the right industry, an increment of 30 per cent or a doubling in pay is possible,' said Mr Ang.
Someone with five years' experience and who can jump from a local role into a regional or global one, for instance, can certainly look forward to a bonanza, he said.
'But you should ask yourself: Is this person you?' he said.
For most job-seekers, something less ambitious would probably be more 'realistic', although Mr Ang declined to say what this was since it differed with individual and industry.
He also noted that in the light of the shaky global economy, job hunters should only 'go over for the right reasons'.
'You may be jumping into uncertainty and get retrenched in a few months,' he warned. He said it might be better to 'talk to your boss about your pay'.
While Singapore's economy should remain robust until the end of the year, it was hard to say what next year would bring, said Mr Ang.
Those who would jump to a better-paying job now, only to get retrenched during bad times, he said, would find themselves in a lot more trouble than if they had stayed put or asked for a more modest raise.