SINGAPORE: In a recent survey conducted by ManpowerGroup Singapore, it has been revealed that more than 8 in 10 employers in Singapore plan to give bonuses equivalent to at least a month’s salary to their employees, despite a looming weaker hiring climate in 2024, The Straits Times reports.

The survey, which included responses from 525 employers, revealed that 84% are committed to year-end bonuses, marking a slight decrease from 87% recorded a year ago. Among the sectors surveyed, finance and real estate stood out, with 11% of employers planning to provide bonuses exceeding one and a half months’ salary, outpacing the average of under 7% across other sectors.

In terms of average bonuses of at least one month’s salary, the transport, logistics, and automotive sectors took the lead, with an impressive 97% of employers expressing intentions to do so. The energy and utilities sector was 96%, and the healthcare and life sciences sector was 91%.

The survey highlighted a trend where larger firms are more inclined to offer more substantial bonuses. A notable 43% of large firms employing between 1,000 and 4,999 people and 44% of large enterprises with 5,000 or more staff stated their plans to issue bonuses exceeding one month’s salary. In contrast, smaller firms, especially those with 10 to 49 employees, were less likely to follow suit.

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Salary increments were also part of the survey findings, with over half of the companies surveyed planning to raise salaries by 3% to under 5%, a slight decrease from the previous year’s 60%. However, the proportion of employers considering increments between 5% and under 7% increased to 19% from 17% a year ago.

The energy and utilities sector emerged as a standout, with all employers signalling plans to provide wage increments of at least 3%. Conversely, 37% of employers in the communication services sector contemplated increments below 3%, the highest proportion among the surveyed sectors.

Ms Linda Teo, Country Manager at ManpowerGroup Singapore, noted that despite economic challenges, many companies continue to reward their employees with bonuses, citing the rising living costs and the recent goods and services tax (GST) hike. She noted that this strategy is crucial to “maintain competitiveness in talent retention and attraction.”

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2024, the survey explored employers’ hiring plans. The net employment outlook for the period stands at 29%, a slight decrease from 33% in the same period last year. The transport, logistics, and automotive sectors reported the strongest outlook at 44%, reflecting strong demand for airline travel and logistics services.

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While the energy and utilities sector exhibited a more reserved outlook at 11%, consumer goods and services posted a modest 12%. Notably, skills related to environmental, social, and corporate governance, as well as the green economy, are in high demand, with 42% of employers facing challenges in hiring individuals with such expertise./TISG