Employees in Singapore feel most underpaid in Asia-Pacific

Singapore tops the Asia-Pacific region in workforce dissatisfaction with nearly half feeling underpaid, reveals ADP’s People at Work 2024 report.
By: | June 25, 2024

Nearly half of Singapore’s workforce feels underpaid, marking the highest dissatisfaction rate among surveyed Asia-Pacific countries, according to ADP’s latest People at Work 2024 report. The report showed that 48% of respondents in Singapore believe their compensation is insufficient, outpacing their counterparts in Australia (42%), India (41%), Japan (36%), and China (31%).

In particular, the arts and culture sector in Singapore has the highest percentage of employees feeling under-compensated, with 67% expressing discontent. This sentiment is also notably high in the professional services (55%) and architecture, engineering and building (50%) industries.

Yvonne Teo, Vice President of HR Asia-Pacific at ADP, said, “Given the high importance employees place on salary in a job, an alarmingly high percentage of employees feel unsatisfied with their salary.”

This year, 71% of respondents in Singapore ranked salary as the most important factor in a job, exceeding all other countries surveyed.

Teo warned that unaddressed salary concerns can lead to disengaged employees and high turnover, impacting business performance. “Employers must clearly communicate corporate initiatives and how they will address the issues that are most important to employees,” she said. “It is essential to provide clarity on organisational objectives, the criteria for measuring success, and the ways employees contribute to achieving these goals.”

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The report also explored alternative forms of compensation that could improve employee satisfaction in lieu of salary increases. These include one-off bonuses (44%), additional days of annual leave or paid time off (38%), one-off payments to help with the cost of living (34%), shorter work weeks (33%), and grocery or shopping vouchers (31%).

Furthermore, the report found that most respondents in Singapore (81%) rely on a single source of income, compared to the regional average. India has the highest percentage of employees with multiple income streams (41%).

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