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HR news in brief: June 2016, Singapore



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Resorts World Sentosa announces layoffs
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has allegedly let go of 400 employees – “about 150 croupiers, 200 supervisors and 25 pit managers have been let go in recent weeks, either via voluntary retrenchment or termination of services,” according to TODAY.
When contacted by Human Resources, the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU) and RWS said in a joint statement that the latter is “reviewing its operational resources” to remain competitive in the market.
“With the current business environment, it is necessary for RWS to review the headcount in its gaming business so that it can achieve the right size to meet its business needs,” noted the parties.
A RWS spokesperson revealed details of the separation package to Human Resources.
“We have adopted the Tripartite Guidelines on Managing Excess Manpower in carrying out this decision,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that adoption of these guidelines entails:
Offering retrenchment benefit payment to all affected employees even though the Tripartite Guidelines recommended only for employees with two or more years of service.
Offering an upfront S$1,500 training grant payout for local employees as well as paying their union membership fee for another 12 months.
Read the full story here

Former HR vice president of Harry’s fined $40,000
Parmjit Kaur, the former vice president of human resources of Harry’s International pleaded guilty to charges of consenting to the offence of making false declaration of salary in work pass applications.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Kaur was convicted in Singapore’s State Court and sentenced to a fine of $40,000.
It was revealed through investigations that Kaur, in her capacity then as the company’s president and chief operating officer and subsequently the vice president of human resources, instructed her subordinate to declare higher fixed monthly salaries for 20 foreign employees to meet requirements needed to obtain Employment Passes (EPs).
She, however, knew that the company only intended to pay them a monthly salary below the minimum requirement.
The salaries of the 20 foreign employees were declared as $3,100 and, based on the false information provided to the Controller of Work Passes, the 20 EP applications were approved and the EPs were issued to the foreign employees. However, they would have to reimburse the company $1,600 for meals and transportation which actually costs less than $1,600.
Read the full story here

J.P. Morgan, PwC skirt away from formal dress codes
According to The Wall Street Journal, J.P Morgan is now allowing employees to wear business-casual attire on most occasions. PricewaterhouseCoopers has also ditched its traditional dress codes for staff in Australia, UK, India, and other offices.
Human Resources spoke to a number of industry experts to find out if this trend is here to stay.
“I believe this new era of tie burning is a way our world’s best organisations and leaders are breaking down traditional barriers to treating each other like humans rather than problems,” Louis Carter, co chairman and CEO, Best Practice Institute, told Human Resources.
“And, there is nothing wrong with this – it is simply the decision to wear whichever uniform works best for you, your clients, and your job function. If you are in the office, and not client facing, you may as well have a writing or radio job.”
Marc Havercroft, VP, HCM cloud & digital strategy and transformation, Global/APJ at SAP, commented: “Dressing down doesn’t matter as much for a financial analyst or desk jockey writing Powerpoint presentations, working on innovative new scientific discoveries or performing primary and secondary research all day. It’s all about form, purpose, and function.”
Read the full story here

Redundancies in Singapore highest since 2009
Amid softer economic conditions, the first quarter of 2016 (Q1 2016) has seen the highest number of workers made redundant in the first quarter in Singapore since 2009. This was according to a new Ministry of Manpower (MOM) labour market report.
In Q1 2016, 4,710 redundancies were found to have been made in the island-nation. MOM added that “redundancies are expected to rise in sectors affected by weak external demand”.
By sector, the bulk of the redundancies this year came from the services sector (54%). This was mainly in professional services (13%), wholesale trade (11%) and financial services (9.1%).
Similar to previous reports, professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) represented the large majority of layoffs at 71%. When it came to short-week or temporary layoffs however, PMETs were among the least affected (22%) while the bulk of those affected were production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers (69%).
Q1 2016 also saw the lowest rate of re-entry into employment since June 2009 (43%).
Around 60,400 residents were unemployed in March 2016. This was lower than 64,600 (residents) and 57,900 (citizens) in December 2015.
Read the full story here

The world’s most attractive employers this year
Ranked as one of the top employers in Singapore, it comes as no surprise that Google has yet again secured the top spot as the world’s most attractive employer. This was, at least among both business and engineering/IT students in the latest Universum Talent Survey.
Polling more than 267,000 business and engineering/IT talent in the world’s 12 largest economies, the report found that among the business rankings, Apple proved to be a close competitor for Google after having jumped five spots from 7th to 2nd place.
This was followed by EY and Goldman Sachs and PwC which dropped three places to 5th place.
On the engineering/IT side, Google was followed by Microsoft, Apple, BMW Group. Additionally, IBM replaced GE at 5th place.
Preferred industries among business talent included professional services (50%), management and strategy consulting (29%), banks and financial services (28%).
With strong “lifestyle brands” doing better than others, mixed fortunes were seen for consumer goods firms among the business talent – for example, Nike debuted on the ranking at 16th place as compared to Adidas group at 19th place.
Read the full story here

Why almost a quarter of firms in Singapore still don’t offer flexi-work
More firms in Singapore are now offering flexible working arrangements for their employees – but looks like there’s still some time before employees can take full advantage of such arrangements.
In fact, around 27% of firms are afraid that employee teamwork will decline with prevalent flexi-work, according to a survey by Vodafone.
The survey revealed that 57% of Singapore employees feel they do not have a usable flexible policy in place at their job. This is despite the fact that 53% of companies in Singapore who have introduced flexible working have seen increased profits since its implementation.
Many respondents stated that they believed performance had been enhanced as a result of flexible working. For example, 77% of Singapore companies who have implemented flexible working have seen an increase in employee productivity, while teamwork has improved in 54% of Singapore organisations utilising flexible working.
Vodafone global enterprise Asia Pacific president Ben Elms said: “Vodafone’s research reveals a profound and rapid shift in the modern workplace. Singapore employers are telling us that flexible working boosts profits while their employees tell us they’re more productive. We truly are in an era when work is what you do, not where you go.”
Read the full story here

79% of Singapore employers don’t expect to hire in Q3
Amidst the economic slowdown, hiring intentions in Singapore for the third quarter of 2016 (Q3 2016) are expected to be moderate at best. According to the Q3 2016 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS), of the 647 employers surveyed, only 11% of employers are planning to increase headcount. Almost eight in ten are planning to maintain their workforce size while 1% expect a decrease in staffing levels.
Overall, the net employment outlook stands at a modest +9%. This makes Q3 2016’s employment outlook the weakest forecast reported since Q3 2009.
Linda Teo, country manager of ManpowerGroup Singapore said: “Even though we may not be in a recessionary mode, the employment sentiment certainly isn’t as positive as it has been in the past. In fact, the third-quarter results are the weakest reported since we started to emerge from the last global financial crisis.”
“However, more than three-quarters of the employers we surveyed told us they planned to keep their current workforces intact during the July-September time frame. Employers are clearly sensing more uncertainty in the business environment, but most of them appear to be waiting for clearer signs in the marketplace before they engage in further personnel decisions.”
Read the full story here

ANZ terminates 50 jobs in Singapore
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has laid off up to 50 staff in various departments, sources have shared with TODAY, stating the terminations were made in February this year and were part of the bank’s efforts to cut costs.
“According to a source who was retrenched a few weeks ago, the dozens of employees affected were from the wealth management, business banking and marketing departments in the Singapore unit,” TODAY stated.
TODAY‘s report also interviewed other sources from the bank, who said that had, in fact, been given a briefing by the management with regards to the issue.
“There have been cuts across the board,” said a relationship manager with the bank.
Commenting on the issue, an ANZ spokesperson told Human Resources that the bank remains committed to the Singapore market which is a key business hub in Asia.
“Like our industry peers, we continually review our business to ensure our products and services align with the needs of our customers, and allocate resources to reflect the opportunities and market environment.”
Read the full story here

Image: 123rf



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