Salaries, contract jobs in S'pore on upward trend

Candidates moving to new employment in 2011 can expect average of 10 to 15 percent pay hike, new survey finds. Hiring by IT sector in Singapore also healthy, says recruiter.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Salaries and contract roles are on the uptrend in the country, according to the latest annual employment report from Robert Walters.

Released Tuesday, the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2011 found that employers expect to dish out higher remuneration this year, particularly for experienced hires.

Andrea Ross, Robert Walters' managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, said in a media briefing that salary increases in 2011 will range between 10 and 15 percent for candidates moving into new employment. Companies are also willing to pay a premium for highly sought-after candidates with niche skill sets, she added.

Contract assignments, noted Ross, will also see a rise because candidates are looking to "gain varied experience, increased exposure and the opportunity to work for renowned companies".

The study also revealed that Singapore companies last year continued to fight a "war of talent" to try and retain top employees amidst an abundance of job opportunities.

Despite some professionals flocking to overseas markets such as China and Hong Kong, the talent pool in Singapore remained largely intact due to an influx of professionals from Asia, Australia and Europe as well as Singapore citizens returning home to seek employment.

Singapore, said Ross, is expected to remain the Asian capital for global banks and their control functions. This, she noted, was in line with the government's efforts, as outlined in this year's Singapore Budget.

In his address last Friday, Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam touched on measures to cement the country's position as a "global Asian hub".

The aviation and aerospace sector was singled out in the Robert Walters report as having high job growth estimates. The recruitment agency said the increase was due to the launch of the Seletar Aerospace Park.

IT hiring healthy
Annie Lim, manager of IT commerce division at Robert Walters, told ZDNet Asia on the sidelines of the event that hiring will also grow steadily for the IT sector.

"The economy is picking up and companies are more willing to invest in technology [because] they no longer see tech as a backend support, but as a tool or means to help their businesses," she said.

As a result, more IT projects are being implemented, spelling good news for providers of hardware, applications and services, Lim noted. This will in turn lead to a stronger demand for tech talent, particularly in the mid to senior level positions, she pointed out.

Elaborating on the IT projects, Lim said the technology rollouts are at both the front- and backend. Some companies are refreshing their technology platforms, while others are moving to improve the productivity and efficiency of systems such as CRM (customer resource management) and sales and marketing, she explained.

The 2011 survey findings also predicted a rise in demand for contract IT professionals in Singapore, especially for new projects or those that require niche or new skills not yet available in the country.

Benchmarking salary on the go
In addition to releasing its new study, Robert Walters also launched its first mobile app that allows professionals and recruiters alike to check remuneration rates on the go.

The free salary checker app for the Apple iPhone and iPad provides users with instant access to pay rates for all professionals in sectors that the recruitment agency specializes in, including banking, financial services, accounting, legal, supply chain, engineering, and IT.

Ross said the main reason for developing the application was to provide "an ease of reference" for job seekers. The app is updated yearly, following the annual cycle of the salary survey findings.

According to her, the app was conceived in the London office and took six to eight months to develop. Asked if the app will be available on other mobile platforms such as Google's Android, Ross replied "slowly but surely; we want to master this first."

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