HR Top Hits: What you shouldn’t miss this week
Singapore – Asian firms, including banks, are offering their staff higher variable pay than Western ones – but Singapore bankers shouldn’t expect to see big bonuses this year.
Results from the 2011/2012 Asia Executive Remuneration Snapshot Survey showed Asian firms are much more likely to pay irregular, ad hoc awards outside of the annual grant cycle (32% of Asian firms versus 11% of Western firms) to attract new hires, retain employees and provide special recognition.
Lee Shiau Fei, principal of ASEAN executive remuneration practice at Mercer, said this is because Asian companies have an increased awareness of current compensation issues, and the need for more engagement and communication. “Asian companies based in Singapore prefer more flexible pay structures, which can be adjusted based on business performance, while Western firms have a higher fixed pay component.”
The performance metrics on which these bonuses are based are also more equally balanced between the top and bottom line measures at Asian firms compared to Western firms, which tend to place a greater emphasis on profit based metrics, the survey found.
In a recent interview with The Business Times, local banks The Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) and Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) revealed they offer staff higher bonus payouts than foreign banks, with DBS giving higher payout this year compared to 2011. And while OCBC paid slightly lower bonuses and salary increments in 2011 than in the previous year, payouts were still more than that of foreign banks’, where bonuses ranged from zero to 25%. However, local bankers should still not expect record bonuses this year, as payouts are likely to remain modest.
Moving over to Japan, US-based financial institution Goldman Sachs is back in the limelight, as another former employee stepped up to expose their working conditions. This follows ex-employee Greg Smith’s high profile exit two weeks ago.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo, the former employee, who wore a mask and used the pseudonym Adam Lee, said he is setting up a union so other dismissed staff can demand their jobs back. He claimed Goldman Sachs had hired him fresh out of college, but laid him off in August, after the bank’s representatives pressured him in “combative meetings” into taking a six-month severance package, even though the sum was not enough.
Back in Singapore, SPRING Singapore, has launched two different set of rules to prevent injuries and increase productivity in the workplace. With the support of the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation (SMa), local workplaces are expected to comply with two strict new health and safety rules this year - the Code of Practice for Manual Handling and the Code of Practice for Energy Lockout and Tagout.
The new code of manual handling aims to reduce the musculoskeletal injuries that are commonly associated with manual labour, unexpected start-up of machines, and maintenance and servicing, and the lockout code covers safety procedures for ensuring machines and equipment are properly turned off, locked and tagged. Training for workplaces is expected to begin in May and additional standard revisions may also be adopted soon.
Remaining on the topic of safety, an Austrian man hit headlines this week for sawing off his own foot – simply to avoid being found fit enough to return to work.
This extreme attempt, which then saw him throw his dismembered foot in the oven to hide it, was made just hours before a scheduled health check with the labour department. They were to determine whether he was fit to work, following time off for a bad back.
However, even after this extreme attempt to stay home, he may still be found healthy enough to work, Hermann Gössinger, a Feldbach AMS job centre spokesman confirmed. The man remains in a stable condition after emergency surgery to seal the wound.
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- Singapore Manufacturers' Federation
- Spring Singapore
- DBS Bank
- Goldman Sachs
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