Bookmark this! Your annual compilation of the most-read articles this year - from HR's biggest challenges to the coolest out-of-office auto responders, and much more. Click through to the excerpts below to read the full story.

1. HR tops rankings of most stressful professions

A comprehensive study has identified that human resources practitioners as the most stressed professionals – outstripping other industries including legal, retail, catering & leisure, IT and healthcare.

The just-published UK study – conducted by Perkbox – quizzed around 16,000 respondents from more than 50 British cities about their respective professions.

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2. 5 critical issues facing HR directors in 2019

If you’re an HR professional, your skills matter now more than ever.

Unemployment levels are low and companies are becoming more competitive with salaries and perks for new employees. Savvy HR directors must shift with the times in order to retain employees and make strong new hires.

I asked HR managers and directors what they found were their biggest challenges. The following are five key takeaways every business leader should consider, because this doesn’t just affect the human resources department – it will affect your entire company.

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3. The coolest out-of-office email responses we’ve seen this month

The team here at Human Resources has received a number of out-of-office auto replies all through the month, in response to our invitations for magazine interviews, speaking opportunities, and more.

In a nod to their creativity, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites here.

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4. Top 20 most attractive employers in Malaysia: Ranking

Once again, oil and gas company, PETRONAS, has taken the top spot as the most attractive employer in Malaysia.

This was according to Randstad’s 2019 Employer Brand Research which surveyed 2,504 Malaysian-based employees and examined 75 of the largest commercial companies to work for across 11 sectors. Other homegrown brands that were ranked in the top 10 most attractive employers are AirAsia (6th), and Sime Darby (9th).

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5. Salary increases in 2019 and 2020: Asia Pacific outlook

With planning for 2020 underway in most organisations, timely data by Willis Towers Watson has provided a yearly outlook on actual and projected salary increases in 2019 and 2020 respectively, across 20 markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and more.

With continuous pressure on businesses in the region to keep costs down, salary increases in APAC remain stable at an average of 5.6% this year (same as 2018), slightly lower than the projected increase of 5.9% last year, per the latest Salary Budget Planning Survey Report (Q3).

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6. Fresh graduates from NTU, NUS, SMU and SUSS earn $3,733/month

Graduates in 2018 achieved slightly higher overall and full-time permanent employment rates compared to those who graduated in 2017, as well as higher median starting pay for graduates in full-time permanent employment in Singapore.

The mean gross monthly salary among fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment was S$3,733 in 2018, higher than S$3,613 in 2017. The median gross monthly salary was $3,500, higher than the $3,400 in 2017.

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7. World Economic Forum: Top 10 skills and workforce strategies in 2020

It is no surprise that more than one-third of skills that are considered important in today’s workforce will change five years from now.

The World Economic Forum predicted current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labour market changes over the period 2015-2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs.

Two thirds of jobs that could be lost are concentrated in routine white-collar office functions such as office and administrative roles. Meanwhile, there could be a total gain of two million jobs in computer and mathematical and architecture and engineering related fields.

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8. 2019 ranking: NUS, NTU, SMU remain among world’s best 50 MBAs

Singaporean business schools – National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Nanyang Business School, and Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Lee Kong Chian School of Business – remained among the top 50 in the 2019 Financial Times’ (FT) global MBA ranking.

The ranking which features the world’s best 100 full-time MBA programmes, placed NUS Business School in the 17th spot this year, moving up one place from 2018. Similarly, SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business climbed to 43rd place, from 49th last year. However, NTU’s Nanyang Business School slid eight places to come in at 30th this year.

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9. HR’s top seven challenges in 2019

A recent whitepaper of over 800 human resource professionals has revealed that the biggest challenge for HR professionals in the coming year is the search for high quality applicants (64%).

“Employers are having an increasing difficult time finding people with the right skills. With today’s low unemployment rate, workforce planning is, and will likely continue to be, a major concern for HR and one that requires creative and strategic planning and development,” Beth Zoller, legal editor at XpertHR, said.

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10. Top 10 best and worst countries for expats in 2019

Malaysia and Vietnam enter the top 10 best destinations for expats – ranked 9th and 2nd respectively.

According to the Expat Insider 2019 by InterNations, The two Tiger Cubs join Asian Tigers Taiwan (1st) and Singapore (6th) which have always ranked at least in the top 15.

The four countries fared well for personal finance as well as ease of settling in.

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