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Michael Smith

Managing Director South/South East Asia

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Country Manager

Over half willing to accept salary decreases or demotions in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia


Most employees would recoil in disgust at the thought of receiving a demotion or salary decrease. This sentiment, however, changes drastically when it comes to protecting careers, with a much larger number of people willing to accept a pay decrease or demotion to stay employed.

According to Randstad’s latest Workmonitor Research for Q2 2017, 43% of employees globally were willing to accept a lower salary or demotion in order to remain employed. When looking at Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, this sentiment jumped to 52% on average, a significant increase compared to the global average.

Employees in Singapore were the most likely to accept a salary decrease or demotion with 61% stating so in the research. Hong Kong employees were the least willing, with only 46% willing to protect their employment through a decrease or demotion.

The research also revealed that men across all three countries, as well as globally, were more willing than women to accept a demotion or salary decrease.

Surprisingly, more senior employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia were more willing to accept a decrease or demotion than younger employees. This was in stark contrast with the global trend where we see younger employees being more willing than senior employees.

Managing Director for Randstad Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, Michael Smith noted, “It’s interesting to note the higher willingness of employees in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia than that of the global average to take a demotion or salary decrease. We expect this falls down to a mix of the recent global economic sluggishness and the fear of staying unemployed, coupled with traditional mindsets where losing a job would result in ‘losing face’.”

“While we don’t have statistics to see how this sentiment has trended in the past, I would expect the willingness to accept decreased salaries or demotions to drop as the economy recovers and the workforce matures,” added Smith.

To download a PDF version of this article, please click here.

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