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Asia's bosses and workers face salary mismatch

Publication Date : 24-05-2012


Salary expectations are causing tension between employers and employees across Asia, according to a series of reports released by recruitment firm Hudson yesterday.

Nearly seven out of 10 employees are looking to change jobs this year to boost their salaries, while two-thirds of employers are worried about retaining their top performers.

The Salary and Employment Insights 2012 series of reports is an expanded version of the report Hudson releases annually. It includes interviews with more than 4,000 employers and employees across Singapore, Hong Kong and China on their salary expectations and employment issues they face.

Andrew Tomich, executive general manager of Hudson Singapore, said employers were looking for high-performing candidates, but not at any cost.

"Their dilemma is how to attract the best candidates at a time when hiring budgets aren't always able to keep pace with rising salary expectations," he said.

He added: "Hiring managers now have to do more with less, which is especially difficult when salary is the top driver for 27 per cent of candidates, and many employees believe it's easy to find a similar package elsewhere."

More than 80 per cent of hiring managers said that the salary expectations of their preferred candidates exceeded their budget. Just under half of them said they would increase their budget to secure the best candidate, while the rest said they would settle for second-best. Additionally, eight out of 10 employees surveyed said they felt they deserved a pay rise this year.

To manage their wage bills, Tomich advised employers to adjust their recruitment processes to identify the candidates who could make the biggest difference to their bottom line.

Susan Chong, chief executive of packaging company Greenpac, has done just that. Noting that retaining staff is "always challenging", she said she had identified key staff she wants to keep. She would focus on and groom them.

Greenpac has several retention schemes. Under them, what the firm cannot offer in salary is made up for with other job perks.

For example, if the company meets a certain target, all of the staff get to go on an overseas trip together. This has been happening for the past nine years, said Chong.

"You can't avoid turnover, and when hiring I always have some interviewees who care only about the salary and don't even ask about the job scope," she said. "But I think job satisfaction and being respected at the workplace are also important factors in retaining and hiring, so we try different things to make employees feel at home."


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