Singapore Businesses Avoid Massive Layoffs, Move Toward Cautious Hiring: Aon Pulse Survey

July 21, 2020 - 09:33
Singapore Businesses Avoid Massive Layoffs, Move Toward Cautious Hiring: Aon Pulse Survey

  • 18% of businesses report a hiring freeze compared to30% in April
  • Three fourths of Singapore companies have refrainedfrom layoffs

SINGAPORE- Media OutReach - 21 July2020 - Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leadingglobal professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirementand health solutions, has released the results of a new pulse survey thatexplores how companies in Singapore are planning for changes in the rewards andtalent landscape in a COVID-19 world.


Aonconducted the survey, "Settingthe Stage for the Future of Rewards and Work," from June 9 to June 15,2020. This follows a previous study that was conducted from April28 to May 1, 2020.


"Our latest survey resultsshow a stabilization in businesses in Singapore. While layoffs are slightly onthe rise, more businesses are moving to cautious hiring practices whileadjustments to rewards have averted widespread downsizing efforts," says AlexanderKrasavin, partner, Radford, and regional commercial head, APAC & MEA at Aon."We hear from clients that they are looking beyond the immediate economicimpact of COVID-19 and planning for longer-term structural changes tooperations and workforce strategies. They are seeing opportunity within a verydifficult situation."

Employeesin high-risk environments may lose their "hazard pay"

As businesses inSingapore deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, many are changingtheir rewards programmes, most often by postponing salary increases. BetweenAon's May and June pulse surveys, businesses delaying salary increases for all employeesgrew from 24% to 29%.

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


Most companies report "zero downsizing efforts"

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


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

Singapore companies view current situation asopportunity, not obstacle

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

About the Survey

This is the fourth edition of Aon's COVID-19 pulsesurveys. A total of 1,940 companies around the worldresponded, with 417 respondents from Singapore. Survey results are available here and are complimentary for all participants.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading globalprofessional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement andhealth solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower resultsfor clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights thatreduce volatility and improve performance.

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