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The hottest employers in Singapore this year
Google retained its top place among business students from Singapore’s four main universities, SMU, SIM, NTU and NUS in the 2016 edition of Universum’s Singapore Top 100 IDEAL Employers. However, it slipped to second place among the responses from engineering and natural sciences students who now consider A*STAR to be the most desirable.
While Singapore Airlines came in third among the engineering students, it took second place among the business students, closely followed by the Walt Disney Company.
When evaluating employer attractiveness, Singaporean youth cited ‘professional training and development’ (2nd for business and engineering students) and ‘high future earnings’ (3rd for business and 5th for engineering students) among their most desired employer attributes.
Neither business nor engineering students in Singapore ranked any of the employer attributes connected with employer reputation or image within their 10 most important.
On the other hand, among the top 10 people and culture attributes, ‘a friendly work environment’ is becoming a holy grail for employers in Singapore.
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Finance Minister announces Budget 2016
Singapore’s Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat, delivered the FY2016 budget statement in Parliament, affirming that firms must restructure in order to remain sustainable. “We must aim for a virtuous cycle of higher productivity, higher skills, and higher wages,” he said.
Among some of the key measures, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is expected to enhance employment support through the Adapt and Grow initiative. Wage support schemes will be expanded to encourage employers to hire those who are finding it harder to find jobs, such as those affected by retrenchments or business restructuring.
MOM will also commit an additional $35 million a year from the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund and Skills Development Fund to support skill building.
Minister Heng also introduced the Industry Transformation Programme (ITP) that will help firms create value in four ways: integrating restructuring efforts; targeted sector-focused approach; deepen the partnership between Government, workers and industries; and stronger emphasis on technology adoption and innovation.
Additionally, the Government will proceed with levy increases of S Pass Holders in every sector – in view that the foreign workforce has continued to grow in the past year, as well as levy increases for services and construction work permit holders.
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Over 15,000 employees were laid off last year
2015 proved to be a tough year for local employees with many of them losing their jobs due to the wave of layoffs. The latest Ministry of Manpower labour market report found that the annual number of redundancies has been on an upward trend since 2010.
The number of workers laid off added up to 15,580 in 2015, a significant increase compared to 12,930 in 2014. At the same time, the incidence of redundancy rose to 7.4 redundancies per 1,000 workers, up from 6.3 in 2014.
Going by occupational group, Singapore’s professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) were the hardest hit, forming the bulk of redundancies (71.1%). Next on the chopping board were workers in clerical, sales and service occupations, forming 13.4% of the redundancies, followed by production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers (15.5%).
Sector wise, while layoffs increased across the board, the bulk of redundancy came from the services sector (55%), followed by manufacturing (33%) and construction (11%).
“Based on Central Provident Fund (CPF) records, 50% of residents made redundant in the third quarter of 2015 secured employment by December 2015, down from 55% from the previous quarter, and 59% from the same period a year ago,” the report stated.
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The sectors most likely to hire in Q2 2016
According to the latest ManpowerGroup employment outlook survey, employers in the finance, insurance and real estate; mining and construction; and the services sectors report the strongest hiring intentions of +12% each. This was followed by the public administration and education; and the transportation and utilities sectors with outlooks standing at +9% each.
The lowest outlook was observed in the wholesale trade and retail trade sector, with an outlook of +6% as well as the manufacturing sector who only predicts a outlook of+5%.
“The pockets of hiring growth are where either top talent or ground-level workers are in short supply,” observed Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore.
Hiring intentions for the next three months being at their weakest since Q3 of 2009 after five consecutive quarters of steady decline. In the next quarter, only 14% of employers indicated that they expect to increase headcount, 76% plan to keep current headcounts, while 4% plan to decrease staffing levels.When seasonal variations taken into account, the net employment outlook is forecasted to be at a conservative +10% – four percentage points weaker than the same period in 2015.
Teo added: “It’s a bearish sentiment we’re seeing as local employers face internal pressures of high operational costs, and business nerves continue to be frayed over China’s slowdown, which impact trade-dependent economies like ours.”
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What Generation X loves about the workplace
A global executive survey released by the Futurestep division of Korn Ferry found that while Millennials (born 1981-1995) are getting the most attention in the workplace, the generation is still one of the least engaged in the workforce (23%). On the other hand, Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) – who get about half the attention Millennials are given (27% compared to 58%) – make up the most engaged generation (52%) in today’s workforce.
The survey found that 39% of the 1,070 respondents polled felt that the “ability to make a difference in their organisation” is most important to Gen Xers in the workplace, more than double that of those who cited “job stability” (16%) or “development opportunities” (15%).
Additionally, the survey found that this generation is fairly easy to attract and retain. Almost half of respondents said that it is “the ability to make an impact on the business” that makes a Gen Xer would choose one job over another. Followed by “belief in the reputation and vision of the organisation” (31%).
“A sense of pride in their work” was cited as the top reason that makes a Gen Xer stay in a job (41%) with “financial stability” (24%) coming in second and “company culture” (23%) in third place.
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Are these the top killers of company culture?
A study by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and WorkplaceTrends.com found that employees, managers and HR often don’t see eye to eye on attributes that define company culture.
HR and people managers thought that “a high-stress environment” and “company growth” had the maximum negative impact on workplace culture. On the other hand, employees felt “not having enough staff to support goals,” “unhappy/disengaged workers who poison the well,” and “poor employee/manager relationships” were the biggest barriers to a positive company culture.
As a result, the study added that HR should place a greater focus on hiring the right people, appropriately staffing and ensuring that managers have proper management training to help their teams thrive.
There were, however, again differing views across the board when it came to the culture attributes that matter most to employees.
On the one hand, staff listed the three most important attributes as “pay” (50%), “coworkers who respect and support one another” (42%), and “work-life balance” (40%). Managers, on the other hand, thought that “managers and executives leading by example,” a “shared mission and values,” and “emphasis on taking care of our customers” would top employees’ lists.
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The worst comments staff make at work
A study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, authors of Crucial Conversations and co-founders of VitalSmarts, found that 83% of employees have witnessed co-workers saying something that has had catastrophic results on their careers, reputations and businesses. More than two in three (69%) have admitted to personally committing  that costly mistake.
Polling 780 employees online, the authors found that these mistakes cost 31% of respondents a pay increase, promotion or their job. More than a fifth said these were responsible for undercutting or destroying the working relationship, while 11% revealed that it destroyed their reputation.
Additionally, Grenny and Maxfield uncovered the five catastrophic comments bosses might fire staff over:
1. Suicide by feedback (23%): When bosses can’t handle the truth.
2. Gossip karma (21%): When staff talk about something in confidence with a co-worker only to have their bad comments made public.
3. Taboo topics (20%): When an employee says something sensitive about race, sex, politics or religion.
4. Word rage (20%): When they lose their temper and use profanity to make a point.
5. “Reply all” blunders (10%): Accidentally sharing something harmful via technology.
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Millennials are willing to change jobs for $0.50 more per hour
No matter how satisfied staff are in their jobs and how well they fit in culturally, money still matters at the end of the day. According to a new survey by Moosylvania, only 3% of employees stated they would not leave their current jobs – if they are happy there and are a fit culturally – for a better sounding opportunity.
So, how much better does an opportunity have to sound to persuade Millennials to hop jobs? Apparently, not that much.
The survey found US$1,000 more per year, or roughly 50 cents more per hour is all it takes for 36% of respondents to leave their current job – and that’s even if they’re happy and a cultural fit.
Slightly under a third would leave for a US$5,000 raise ($2.50 more per hour), while 24% would for US$10,000 ($5 more per hour).
Additionally, the survey found that when Millennials picked from 36 character traits best described themselves, new values are emerging as the generation continues to mature. This includes being fiscally responsible, globally aware and health conscious.
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