Many human resource (HR) firms project salary increments to the tune of close to 4% in Singapore in 2018. Both Mercer and ECA International, two of the most renowned human resource consulting firms in the world, predicts wages in Singapore to increase by 3.9% and 4.0% respectively in 2018.
These salary guides, as well as several others, have been carried on many local dailies and online media. They cite a healthy global economy, expected to grow between 1.5% and 3.5% in 2018, and increasing labour demand in Asia. Singapore, with an educated workforce, world-class infrastructure and strong regulatory and governance environment is well-positioned to benefit.
Far-sighted government initiatives, including SkillsFuture, increase productivity and innovation in the workplace, encouraging technologically-disruptive firms and others provide further support for better remunerations in the island-nation.
Reading this, many workers in Singapore may simply start thinking that their pay packages will, and should, rise by 4.0% in 2018. And if this doesn’t happen, it’s time to start looking for new employment opportunities.
This is a wrong way to look at it – here are four reasons why.
#1 What Are These Guides Actually Telling Us?
The salary guides that we quoted look at broad markets rather than just focus on the economic situation in Singapore. Hence, their assessment may be too sweeping in nature.
In one of the reports, the comparison for accuracy on their 2016 forecast was posted as “forecasts for just over half of countries were within 0.2% of the actual median change and three-quarters were within 0.5%.”
Even for reports that focus on the Singapore market specifically, there may be reasons why you should take them with a pinch of salt. You can read more in the article below.
#2 You Need To Help Your Company Excel
It makes no sense for a company to pay out higher salaries to everyone if they’re still earning the same revenue. Sure, the economy is set to grow, but it’s down to the people in individual companies to win new contracts and participate in the growth in the economy.
Not only that, it’s not prudent for a company to be doing so in hopes that they will secure more revenue and earnings. This could put them in financial distress if they do not increase their earnings sufficiently, and put everyone’s jobs at risk.
#3 You Need To Deliver More Value
Even if your company does better, it’s not certain that you should be rewarded. You need to ask yourself if you’ve improved your skillset, worked harder or contributed more to the company.
If you become a more valuable member of your team or company, you will likely see greater recognition in terms of pay, bonus or benefits. This is regardless of whether your company does better or not.
The logic behind this is simple. If you prove you are a valuable team member, you’d be able to find employment anywhere else.
Secondly, if you’re able to do more, perhaps cover someone else’s role or take on more responsibilities, it makes sense for the company to reward you for it.
#4 You’re Not In The Right Company/ Industry…For Now
This is the scenario where you do everything right but don’t get any pay raises. This should not demoralise you.
In the same human resource reports quoted above, several industries aren’t expected to do as well as others. They include the life insurance, internet, real estate, banking and logistics industries. If you’re at a good company that can’t afford to pay you more this year, leaving may not be your only option.
If you’ve contributed more, picked up a new skill and worked harder, you’ve already become an employee that will always be in demand. Your industry or company might had a bad year, that doesn’t mean you immediately jump ship. It’s very easy to walk away from a job, but if you buckle down and work through the difficulties, your work will be more rewarding and you’ll enjoy the fruits later.
Of course, if you’re at a company that has an awful work culture, bad management or terrible colleagues, leaving may be your best bet. This is even if they offer you better pay. However, such companies are likely to fizzle out over time.
Thinking About Your Long-Term Career
Rather than worry about a pay raise next year or obsessing over whether your current employers are shortchanging you by a few hundred dollars, you should focus on building your skillset and capabilities as an employee.
This will ensure you have a stable career for the long-term. The fact remains that as Singapore’s economy continues advancing, unemployment is bound to increase. As it is, unemployment rates in Singapore is creeping up, standing at 3.1% as at September 2017, levels not seen since the global financial crisis.
If this trend continues, being an ordinary worker will be insufficient to keep your job. At the end of the day, you need to be a valuable employee.