Salaries are expected to go up by 3-5 per cent this year, according to reports by two recruitment firms, but the outlook for hiring is less clear.

In Hudson's Salary & Employment Insights 2014 report, almost half of employees (49.8 per cent) anticipate an increase of 3-5 per cent in the coming year, with around one in five (19.4 per cent) expecting an increase of 10 per cent or more.

Most expected their pay to rise in tandem with the rising cost of living, but some also cited their own performance as a reason for the expectation.

Hudson said that the salary expectations are in line with what most workers received last year - 71 per cent of workers received a pay rise in 2013. Of those that were given a pay rise, half (49.9 per cent) reported that their salary had gone up by 3-5 per cent, but more than a quarter (27.4 per cent) of those surveyed received an increase of 10 per cent or more.

Similarly, a separate report by Achieve Group found that 37 per cent of companies said that they intend to increase salaries by up to 3 per cent, while 30 per cent said they plan to hike wages by 3-5 per cent. Some 3 per cent of companies reported that they would increase staff salaries by more than 5 per cent.

When it comes to hiring expectations, both reports suggest that the situation will not improve in the coming months, but they vary on the magnitude.

According to Hudson, hiring expectations in Singapore have edged down 4.3 percentage points, with 39.5 per cent of employers intending to increase headcount this quarter. Expectations to decrease headcount have also gone up 2.9 percentage points to 7.3 per cent. This is the second successive quarter where there has been downward movement in the overall hiring outlook.

On the other hand, Achieve Group's report found that the hiring outlook for the first half of 2014 was exactly the same as the preceding period, with an equal percentage of companies (48 per cent) hiring as well as those who plan to freeze recruitment. Only 4 per cent intend to reduce headcounts in the next six months.

"The demand for staff will continue this year, and it will still be an employees' market as many companies will be hiring in the first half of the year, although the hiring may not be as aggressive as compared with the last six-month period," said Joshua Yim, CEO, Achieve Group.

When it comes to the outlook for each individual sector, Hudson found that banking and financial services was the only industry to demonstrate an increase in positive hiring intentions. Hiring expectations in the sector has gone up 7.4 percentage points to 50 per cent, its highest result since the second quarter in 2011.

The increase in positive hiring intentions over three consecutive quarters in the banking and financial services sector showed an increase in confidence in Singapore's banking sector, according to Hudson. It also reflects that Singapore has established itself as one of the region's leading offshore Chinese currency trading centres, following the recent decision to allow the two countries to trade currencies directly.

Within the sector, the report saw an increase in demand for risk and compliance professionals, with some organisations prepared to pay premium salaries (increases of between 20 per cent and 50 per cent) to professionals who possess both the right skill set and local market knowledge and experience.

Among other industries, hiring intentions have declined compared to previous quarter, with the most substantial drop seen in the healthcare and life sciences sector, which fell 17.9 percentage points.

However, this differs from Achieve Group's report, which showed that sectors that reported the highest hiring intentions include healthcare and pharmaceutical, shipping and logistics, and property and construction. The banking and finance sector registered the lowest intention to hire, with only 9 per cent of companies looking to hire in the first half of this year.

Achieve Group's Hiring Trends Report 1H 2014 report surveyed 500 companies in December 2013, and participants are primarily executives, mainly HR managers and directors, at multinational firms and medium to large-sized enterprises.

Hudson's Salary & Employment Insights 2014 is based on 477 employers and 1,292 employees. Size-wise, 90.4 per cent of the employers surveyed are medium to large firms and 9.6 per cent small firms.