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WAGE ALERT: Higher salaries in finance sector, for now

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The banking and financial sector saw a salary increase of 4.5% in 2013, surpassing the 4.1% target made earlier in this year.

This is according to the Singapore 2013 Financial Services Total Rewards Survey by Towers Watson, which was conducted on a pool of 33,000 individuals from 45 companies.

However, the study revealed the sector would see salary increment rates slow back down to 4.1% in 2014, amid lower inflation rates and higher GDP growth.

The current GDP growth rate of 2.3% is expected to rise to an average of 4.5% between 2014 and 2017. Inflation, on the other hand, will decrease to 2.7%, averaging at 2.5% in the next four years.

The top five sectors which reported the most compensation movement from 2012 to 2013 were investment banking (99%), asset-based finance (7.0%), retail banking (6.6%), transaction banking (6.2%) and corporate banking (6.1%).

Looking into specific financial services functions, financial advisors and global custodian, and alternative investment services professionals saw the highest differences of 13.4%, 12.4% and 8.5%, respectively. The treasury, capital markets and risk management sectors were also identified as the toughest to attract and retain employees in.

The report revealed an 8.7% turnover rate this year, lower than the 11.1% rate in 2012 and the lowest in the last 5 years. In terms of prevalent retention tools, the survey revealed companies were most inclined towards deferred cash, market premium, career planning and counselling, retention bonus, and education opportunities.

Towers Watson also identified some of the biggest HR challenges the financial services sector is expecting to face, including regulatory changes across business and pay requirements, the long muted business and economic environment, as well as strategic business shifts, which are and will continue to result in core business retrenchment and an increased reliance on technology.

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