With the labour market expected to remain tight next year, yet another survey is predicting further pay hikes in 2014 for Singapore workers.
Salary increments could average 4.4 per cent next year, said global management consultancy Hay Group's latest Market Remuneration Survey, which polled 531 Singapore-based organisations in both the private and public sectors of more than 15 industries.
But this would be a slowdown from the pace of growth in base salaries over the past three years. The survey found that salaries grew 4.9 per cent on average in 2013, on a par with the average increment last year.
Last month, survey reports from human resources firm Towers Watson and compensation specialist ECA International put nominal pay hikes for 2014 at 4.5 per cent, similar to Hay Group's 4.4 per cent.
With Singapore's consumer price inflation expected to come in at 2-3 per cent in 2014, some salary survey reports have also noted that more expensive goods and services would mean weaker real salary growth, from the workers' point of view.
Smaller pay hikes would be in line with the view that economic growth next year may be slower than the 3.5-4 per cent expected in 2013, if it falls in the lower end of the government's 2-4 per cent forecast range for 2014.
This year, those working for banks and insurers can expect the highest salary jump of 5.7 per cent on average, among the sectors Hay Group polled. The second-largest pay hike would be the oil and gas sector's average of 5.6 per cent, followed by the high-technology sector, whose workers can expect a 5.5 per cent increase.
But in the year ahead, financial services professionals can expect thinner salary increments. The banking and insurance sector is expected to slip to third place with a forecast average salary increase of 4.5 per cent.
It is the fast-moving consumer goods sector that is expected to take the lead next year with pay hikes averaging 5 per cent. The oil and gas and industrial goods sectors could see the second-largest average pay jump of 4.7 per cent.
But the expected slowdown in pay increases extends across the board. The natural resources sector is the only one expected to buck the trend, with average salary growth expected to rise to 4.8 per cent in 2014, from 4.1 per cent in 2013.
And bonuses are unlikely to make up for the slowdown. The Hay Group report found that the average variable bonus payout, which is performance based and excludes the annual wage supplement and any contractual bonuses, is 2.4 months for 2013. This is expected to dip to 2.2 months in 2014.
Victor Chan, Hay Group's regional general manager (Singapore and Asean) for productised services, said: "Nevertheless, there is an opportunity for organisations to be creative about how they reward their people - going beyond the cash component."