Singapore’s Hotels & Hospitality Industry: Is Remuneration the Key Driver in Talent Attraction & Retention?

An Aon study showed that, in 2017, the hotels & hospitality industry was lagging 14% behind general industry when it comes to salary increments. How can employers engage with top talent in order to attract and retain them?

Singapore’s Hotels & Hospitality Industry: Is Remuneration the Key Driver in Talent Attraction & Retention? 

13 Dec 2018 by  Brian De Souza & Lek Kai Jia

As one of the leading destinations in the world, both for tourism and business, it’s only natural for Singapore to also have a fast-growing hotels and hospitality industry. While this is good for business, it poses a challenge for employers in the sector when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. 

In Aon’s annual Singapore Hotels & Hospitality survey this year, a study comprising respondents from 61 hotels, clubs, and serviced residences, we discovered a widening gap in the average salary increments between the hospitality industry when compared to general industry. 

While the general industry salary increase was 4.6% in 2014, it has dropped to 3.8% in 2018—a 21% decrease. In the same period, salary increase rates in hospitality saw a 40% decrease from 4.2% to 3.0%. This, compounded yearly, could create increasingly widening salary differences between the two industries—where the hospitality industry is currently lagging the general industry by an average of 14% in 2017.

In recognition of these issues on compensation, organisations in the hospitality industry remain competitive in attracting and continuously engaging talent by providing a stronger proposition in other areas.

Where do hotels and hospitality industry employers stand?


Among Aon Best Employers in Singapore, rewards practices are often not the differentiator, as employees tend to view rewards as a hygiene factor when it comes to their decision to join or stay. The question now is whether the hospitality industry can engage their employees, not just through rewards, but also through other areas such as enhanced benefits, non-monetary recognition, and career development opportunities.

Tapping on our insights from the Aon Best Employers study, top hospitality organisations have stronger employee value proposition, employer branding, succession management, leadership development opportunities, and an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion. 

What are some examples of practices adopted by Aon Best Employers in the hotels & hospitality industry?

Mandarin Oriental Singapore, an Aon Best Employer 2018, has cultivated an age-inclusive culture where employees from diverse backgrounds and generations are valued for their contributions. They have focused on enhancing their Colleague Quality Experience (CQE) through culture training and cross departmental activities to learn through facilitated experiential activities. This has helped them to retain key talent with long tenures, who were given opportunities to take on managerial positions. Their employee engagement score has also been consistently increasing since 2014.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, an Aon Best Employer 2017, focused on the more tangible recognition method through ‘Let Us Pamper You Week’ celebrations. A week-long themed event is held annually to thank and recognise employees for the work they do, through a variety of fun activities and food. Between 2015 and 2017, their overall employee engagement score has been consistent at 96%.

Data from the Aon study shows that there is minimal difference in pay for employees at lower levels, even as hotel star ratings or room sizes increase. From these Aon Best Employer examples in the hospitality industry, we can infer that monetary reward is only one factor when it comes to attracting and retaining the best—and the right—talent. Successful employee engagement can be achieved through practices that centre on creating a brand that instils pride in employees, putting employees’ needs first, recognising them for good work, and providing opportunities for growth within the organisation.

Brian De Souza & Lek Kai Jia

Brian is a Consultant with the Performance and Rewards practice based in Singapore. Prior to joining Aon, Brian has held a corporate HR roles in a leading brands within the Hospitality and Insurance industry. His core experience resides in the Rewards space and he has undertaken several projects cutting across Asia Pacific and employee levels.

Kai Jia is an Analyst with the Aon Rewards Practice in Singapore. She has been involved in survey design and analytics, compensation benchmarking and job evaluation for the Regional Hotel Survey and Singapore Hotel & Hospitality Study. She has also worked on the National Council of Social Services (NCSS) sector-wide engagement survey and projects in Executive Compensation to design incentive plans for top management and Board Evaluation.

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Brian De Souza
Brian De Souza
Singapore
Lek Kai Jia
Lek Kai Jia
Singapore