Friday, January 22, 2010

And on the other side of the Causeway, they're putting their shades on.

Today’s edition of Singapore’s Straits Times reports that HR consultancy firm Hudson has reported that more companies will be hiring, paying bigger bonuses and boosting starting salaries of new recruits, based from the findings of a survey involving more than 400 executives nationwide in November 2009.

50% of employers are expecting to pay year end bonuses of more than 10% compared to 28% the previous year, while another 17% expect to pay 20%.

Companies are also looking to pay higher starting salaries to attract managerial talent. Some expect to raise starting salaries by more than 10%.

Many companies are also developing strategies for employee engagement and talent retention, with 29% identifying mentoring schemes and training programmes as the most valuable measures.

78% of survey respondents forecasted that their organisation's performance will be excellent or good this year.

In our own shores, however, the sun still skulks behind the clouds. The Star on 19th January 2010 merely quoted the Deputy Human Resources Minister, Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan as saying that approximately 40,000 workers were retrenched last year as a result of the global economic crisis and that the Government had launched a programme to offer training courses to those who were unemployed so that they could look for other jobs in the market.

No healthier news about increased hiring, let alone bonuses and pay rises.

This is just my two cents’ worth ok: isn’t it strange to offer training courses to the jobless? The fact is if they are jobless, it means there are very limited employment opportunities out there, and enhancing their skills is not exactly working towards the tipping point, is it. True, the economy is showing consistent signs of improvement, but probably not enough to keep the unemployment rate from rising.

So shouldn’t the focus be to try to create more jobs first? Employers should be offered incentives to keep jobs or to hire more. Consumer spending should also not be restrained, as that will impede speedier economic recovery. Is compelling employers to bear foreign worker levies the only (and the right?) way? How does our neighbour Singapore do it? They were worse hit by the slump than us and yet they are picking themselves up a lot faster.

I’m still finding out. Will let you know ;)