singapore ranked lowest in asia on employees’ confidence to command higher pay in 2018

At least half of the employees around the world are expecting pay raise and bonuses in 2018. Employees from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong SAR are more demanding of their employers - with almost seven in 10 (68.9 per cent) expecting higher salaries this year. This boost in employees’ confidence stems from anticipated economic growth as a result of increasing domestic consumption and exports. However, Singaporean employees are the least confident across all three markets in salary negotiations for a higher pay despite improving economic conditions.

Jaya Dass, Managing Director of Randstad Singapore said, “Companies are likely to take a cautious approach and will wait for the market to stabilise before committing to increasing employees’ salaries. This would explain why employees here are not as confident as their regional counterparts in negotiating for higher salaries this year. However, not all is doom and gloom, as the positive economic outlook will encourage employees with in-demand skills and experience to negotiate for better salary or competitive performance bonuses.”

The minimum sample size per market is 400 interviews.

“I expect to receive a pay rise (raise) at the end of our fiscal year.” (%)

pay raise expectations research

“I expect to receive a one-time financial reward/bonus at the end of our fiscal year.” (%)

salary increase expectations satistics


Across the three markets, Singaporeans are the least optimistic about wage growth, with only 63.9 per cent of employees expecting it. Within the same group of respondents, seven out of 10 people expect to receive a bonus payout for the fiscal year.

Younger Singaporeans between the ages of 18 and 34 are 16.5 per cent more likely to demand a higher pay from their employers as compared to seasoned professionals (58.1 per cent). The salary increment is expected to help them better manage the high cost of living in Singapore. More male employees expect a bonus (71.5 per cent) at the end of this fiscal year than female employees (68.3 per cent).

hong kong SAR

Seven out of 10 employees (71.2 per cent) in Hong Kong SAR expect a pay raise this year, but only 57 per cent are hoping for a bonus. Similar to Singapore, male employees are much more optimistic about a wage increase and employee performance bonus (62.1 per cent). However, only one in two female employees hope for a higher salary (52.5 per cent) and bonus (52.5 per cent) this year.


Salary expectations in Malaysia are the highest, with 78.1 per cent hoping for a wage raise this year. Vastly different to Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, experienced professionals in Malaysia are slightly more likely to demand a higher salary (78.6 per cent) than their younger counterparts (77.5 per cent).

Eight out of 10 Malaysians expect a bonus at the end of this fiscal year, which is also the highest sentiment across the region.

salary expectations in asia infographics

read the other articles in the series:

about the randstad workmonitor

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003, then in Germany, and now covers 33 markets around the world. The last market to join was Portugal in 2014. The study encompasses Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility visible over time. The Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next six months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions. The study is conducted online among employees aged 18 to 65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per market. The Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel is used for sampling purposes. The fourth survey of 2017 was conducted from October 24 to November 8, 2017.

about randstad

Randstad is a global leader in the HR services industry, with Asia-Pacific operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Our offices in Southeast Asia have been supporting people and organisations in realising their true potential, helping find the best permanent and contracting talent in accounting & finance, banking & financial services, construction, property & engineering, corporate & secretarial support, human resources, information technology, legal, life science, sales, marketing & communications and supply chain & procurement.

Human connection is at the heart of our business. Our personal approach, supported by state-of-the-art technology, is what sets us apart in the world of work. We express this with a new brand promise: Human Forward.

Hear what our leaders have to say about #HumanForward or head over to our new website and learn more about our Human Forward brand promise.

media contact

Rena Tan, Regional Marketing and Communications Director

Alistar Lien, Senior PR & Communications Specialist