• 18% of businesses report a hiring freeze compared to 30% in April
  • Three fourths of Singapore companies have refrained from layoffs

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 21 July 2020 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, has released the results of a new pulse survey that explores how companies in Singapore are planning for changes in the rewards and talent landscape in a COVID-19 world.


Aon conducted the survey, "Setting the Stage for the Future of Rewards and Work," from June 9 to June 15, 2020. This follows a previous study that was conducted from April 28 to May 1, 2020.


"Our latest survey results show a stabilization in businesses in Singapore. While layoffs are slightly on the rise, more businesses are moving to cautious hiring practices while adjustments to rewards have averted widespread downsizing efforts," says Alexander Krasavin, partner, Radford, and regional commercial head, APAC & MEA at Aon. "We hear from clients that they are looking beyond the immediate economic impact of COVID-19 and planning for longer-term structural changes to operations and workforce strategies. They are seeing opportunity within a very difficult situation."

Employees in high-risk environments may lose their "hazard pay"

As businesses in Singapore deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, many are changing their rewards programmes, most often by postponing salary increases. Between Aon's May and June pulse surveys, businesses delaying salary increases for all employees grew from 24% to 29%.

As more businesses reopen, they are also pulling back on special "hazard pay." Survey participants that reported paying hazard pay to employees in a higher risk environment in May was 12%. By the June pulse survey, only 9% of participants said they have stopped providing this allowance.


Most companies report "zero downsizing efforts"

As companies take steps to contain costs through modifications to rewards, most participants continue to report "zero downsizing efforts." Approximately three-fourths of Singapore businesses surveyed said they have refrained from layoffs for now. However, the percentage of participants that confirmed layoffs rose slightly to 15% in the June survey from 13% in May and only 4% in April.  


In addition, more Singapore businesses are moving toward cautious hiring from a complete hiring freeze. The percentage of surveyed businesses that reported a hiring freeze fell almost by half, from 30% in April to 18% in June. Those in a cautious hiring state rose from 46% to 60% during the same period.

Singapore companies view current situation as opportunity, not obstacle

When asked how the experience of responding to COVID-19 might change future workforce strategies, 56% of companies in Singapore expect their digital transformation agendas to accelerate and 89% are planning for different working models, such as an increase in permanently remote employees and more flexible working hours. In fact, 75% of participants said that they are offering flexible working hours to employees with young children − an increase from 67% in April and May.

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