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January 27, 2023

A Labor Shortage in Singapore Is Forcing Big 4 Firms to Cough Up Higher Salaries

Picture it. Singapore. 2022.

Bloomberg reports:

The Big Four accounting firms are showering staff with pay increases in Singapore, where an acute labor shortage is driving a fierce contest for talent.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Deloitte LLP lifted base salaries starting from July 1, according to internal documents from the two firms reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Ernst & Young LLP had an off-cycle pay adjustment in April for some parts of the firm, on top of a special bonus payout last year and the annual salary review in October, it said in a response to Bloomberg queries.

KPMG LLP said in May that it will raise entry-level salaries by as much as 20%, along with providing “market-competitive bonuses.”

Associate pay at Deloitte jumped S$500 (US$359) to S$3,500 per month per the internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Analysts saw a S$600 ($431) bump and managerial roles got “a more modest S$100 to S$200 boost.” The firm adjusted salaries based on the “current market to remain competitive,” Ong Siok Peng, talent leader for Deloitte Singapore, told Bloomberg News.

No dollar figures are given for PwC, only that “higher increments” than previous years were made to base salaries according to an email that went out to staff. For EY the Bloomberg piece says only that it “may add to its off-cycle salary bump.” And KPMG says that the firm “will do what’s needed, ‘including on the remuneration front,’ but declined to give monetary specifics.

The average attrition rate among Big 4 firms in Singapore rose to 38% in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2021, compared with 24% in the year-earlier period, according to figures submitted to the government. That’s compared to a median attrition rate of 62% for all audit firms, a number double what it was the year before.

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