Singapore’s up-and-coming business, engineering and IT talent are looking for higher salaries, more work-life balance, and opportunities within the city-state’s leading industry (banking) and employers – Google for IT talent and A*STAR for engineers.
That’s the conclusion of a global talent survey by Universum of 7,000 students across Singapore’s leading universities.
Singapore students expect much higher salaries and work-life balance
Expectations among young talent in Singapore has changed, in light of the pandemic and labour shortages, with significantly higher salaries and a better work-life balance expected.
The study shows a steep y-o-y increase in the salary expectations of students in Singapore, reinforcing the strong salary pressures felt in both private and public sectors over the past year.
Average salary expectations have increased by 10% to US$50,388 pa, though, disappointingly, the gap in salary expectations among male and female students increased this year. Males expect 13% more (18% more among business talent) than their female counterparts compared to 10% in 2021.
Work-life balance is also in demand among young talent, with this preference now top for Singapore students compared to being fourth preference last year, something clearly driven by the pandemic.
Employers who offer a better work-life balance, friendly work environment, and position them better for high future earnings are preferences that now supersede secure employment and professional training and development on the wish list of young talent.
Secure employment, while important, is something young talent increasingly see as being less achievable in today’s world, with jobs for life nearly non-existent. Just 11% believe it’s best to stay with their first employer for as long as possible, while 45% think staying 3-5 years is optimal.
Clearly driven by the pandemic-induced shift towards remote working, Singapore’s ‘Remote Natives’ prove they value the ability to work remotely – 65-69% of students indicate their interest in remote working opportunities.
Dora Kuo, employer branding advisor APAC for Universum, says that while Singapore’s future workforce has for some time favoured employers who can offer them strong professional development, and this remains highly attractive to talent, employers “now need to consider what they are able to offer in terms of flexibility, working environment, and work-life balance, if they want to get themselves to the very front of the queue”.
Banking remains industry choice for young Singapore talent
Banking remains the clear industry of choice among Singapore’s up-and-coming business talent, with 52% of male and 39% of female business graduates selecting it as a top choice. The second choice among males is financial services and technology, while for female business talent, ecommerce ranks as second most preferred industry.
It’s not surprising given Singapore’s position as a regional financial hub, as it looks to capitalise on Hong Kong’s sliding, brought on by the draconian measures put in place by the government in dealing with the pandemic.
Google is most ideal employer for Singapore IT talent
When it comes to the Singapore employers of choice for up-and-coming talent, Google retains its position as the top choice for both business and IT talent, while for engineers, local champion A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) is the favoured employer.
"Employers in Singapore have had a tough couple of years with things like circuit breakers and Great Resignations to contend with,” says Mike Parsons, managing director APAC for Universum. “I have seen that the employers who have performed best are those who have been agile and not afraid to make big decisions and communicate them confidently. Those who have been less brave and waited it out have often lost ground."
A*STAR, which drives mission-oriented research that advances scientific discovery and technological change, offers STEM talent a career in cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge R&D in the area of science, engineering and biomedicine.
The organisation is “committed to developing our people and offers opportunities to our staff for professional and personal development as well as multiple career pathways to impact society and the economy”, says Ms Rajaswari, Group Director, HR, A*STAR.