Singapore employers are the third most likely in the world to promote without pay rise, according to a Robert Half study released on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted across 17 countries with 1,800 Human Resource (HR) managers, found that 68 per cent of Singapore's HR managers say they often give promotions without pay rises.

Of these, 53 per cent said they prefer to offer a performance bonus instead, while another 47 per cent prefer to offer their employees more flexible working hours. Additional annual leave is also offered by 35 per cent of HR managers in lieu of additional pay.

Chile topped the list of countries that offer promotions without pay rises at 76 per cent, while China took second place with 70 per cent.

In contrast, only 26 per cent of HR managers in Japan promote without pay increases, with 66 per cent saying they would never use the practice.

"While pay is not the only factor employees consider, if companies do not provide adequate compensation either through pay or other benefits, then they may lose their top performers to the competition," said Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore.

"If budget constraints mean no additional monetary compensation can be offered, the reasons why need to be clearly communicated," she added.