RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION EXPATRIATE COST CUTTING COST OF LIVING BIZARRE HR
Singapore – Surging demand from UK and US banking and hedge fund staff for Singapore employment has seen more employers in the region aggressively cutting lucrative expat perks.
Boasting political stability and an attractive tax regime, banking careers in Singapore have become increasingly appealing to foreign talent looking for a steady job.
Growing international acclaim has thus allowed employers to cut down on expat perks as more foreign bankers set their sights to settle down in Singapore. In response to the likely effects of reduced benefit packages, employers remain confident fewer perks are unlikely to affect the banking industry.
Such measures are in tandem with Singapore-based companies implementing cost cutting measures to survive through the current economic downturn and a stringent labour market.
Companies readily assure Singaporeans will be able to keep their jobs, but shaving off a few benefits would be necessary to keep businesses afloat.
Amidst a cautious outlook for economic recovery in 2012, some employers have also revealed weaker hiring expectations.
Meanwhile, effects of the global downturn have apparently eluded many Singaporeans, who continue to trend upwards in work income and employment rates.
Singapore optimistically reports a 78% rise in employment and an 8.3% increment in average monthly income, according to the findings in by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) from its Labour Force Survey.
More Singaporeans have been recruited into professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) and non-PMET jobs this year. Stricter immigrant frameworks have also resulted in fewer admissions for incoming permanent residents.
However, it remains too early to celebrate a rise in living standards when Singapore has recently been ranked the sixth most expensive Asian city to live in, up two notches from the previous year.
A stronger Singapore dollar and a 5.7% increase in the average price of goods and services are the two main factors driving up expenses, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey by ECA International.
This may spell trouble as Singapore’s competitive advantage shrinks, making other competitors, such as Hong Kong, seem more attractive for business locations.
Lastly, this week’s Bizarre HR details the strangest – and most unwanted – office gifts one may receive by fellow co-workers during a “white elephant” Christmas gift exchange.
The new survey released by The Creative Group discovered that employees have attempted to scale up the merry-making – by gifting others odd presents such as used ashtrays and a jar of pickles.
Attached is a commentary that comically reads – “You might be the butt of that joke” or “Because you never know when a craving will strike”.
- A used ashtray – “You might be the butt of that joke.”
- A jar of pickles – “Because you never know when a craving will strike.”
- Used candle – “A thrifty approach.”
- A broken umbrella – “Hail, no!”
- Dirty oven mitts – “No need to break them in.”
- A framed picture of the giver – “It'll look great sitting on the fireplace mantel.”
- The same fruitcake that went around the office 2 years in a row – “We're betting it makes a third appearance!”
- A World War II gas mask “Better safe than sorry.”
- A white elephant – “Finally, someone who follows directions!”
According to Donna Farrugia, the executive director of the Creative Group, this is supposed to “be a fun way for employees to take a break from work and celebrate the holidays.”
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