facebook~78% of Singapore Employees Considering Job Switch in 2023 if Pay Raise < Inflation: Should You Change Jobs Too?

~78% of Singapore Employees Considering Job Switch in 2023 if Pay Raise < Inflation: Should You Change Jobs Too?

profileJoel Koh

Here’s a statistic for you.

According to the latest Singapore Salary Survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters, about 78 per cent of Singapore employees will switch jobs if their pay does not keep up with inflation in Singapore.

Source: Giphy

Granted, the sample size is small as the company only surveyed 105 companies and 316 job seekers in Singapore last September about their core concerns and expectations regarding their pay, career plans and staff retention efforts in 2023.

Nevertheless, you might be considering switching jobs yourself and wondering if you should.

Here are 5 signs that you should change your job.

TL;DR: 5 Signals For You to Change Jobs in 2023

Treat Yourself Like a Business

Before you go about changing your job, it is important that you must have the right mindset.

One that resonates with me is the entrepreneurial mindset where one treats themselves as a business even though they are an employee.

This mindset involves:

  • Investing and developing yourself like a business (e.g. taking up courses and certifications)
  • Challenging yourself like a business (e.g. taking up additional responsibilities)
  • Promoting yourself like a business (e.g. going to networking events and building your personal brand)
  • And taking calculated risks like a business. (e.g. changing jobs).

And like a business, you should remember that at the end of the day, most companies will decide to protect their bottom line and not hesitate to cut you if it affects their bottom line and survival.

There are countless examples of this but a more recent one would be Microsoft. The company cut 10,000 jobs or 5 per cent of its workforce and a few days later Semafor reported that it would be investing about US$10 billion (S$13.2 billion) into OpenAi, the company behind ChatGPT.

There is also a need to recognise that you should strive to include mainly objective factors and exclude emotional factors from your decision to change jobs.

An example of an emotional factor is a boss who doesn’t like you personally but treats you fairly at work.

Whereas objective factors are things like not learning anything new at work.

More importantly, as you thoroughly evaluate these factors, you should be honest with yourself and get a friend or work mentor to go over them with you before you make the decision to switch.

1. You Are Not Being Paid Fairly or Your Salary Increases Are Not Keeping up With Inflation

Let’s say you stumbled upon you Seedly’s salary guide and realised that you are being underpaid.

This could be a push factor for you to leave your job as you are not being fairly valued by your company.

But before you ask your boss for a raise…

You’ve got to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether you are providing value to your company or are meeting and exceeding your employer’s expectations.

Also, on behalf of bosses everywhere: You’re NOT getting a raise for doing the job you were hired to do.

But if you’ve been performing well at your job and negotiating well for a pay raise and getting nothing for the past few years, it may be high time for you to leave.

After all, value is a subjective thing. Your current employer might think you are worth this much but another employer might value you more.

And we are not just talking about the salary. Benefits, personal development and being valued by your employer matters to.

There is also the small matter of inflation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Core Inflation (excludes accommodation and private transport costs) in December 2022 remained unchanged at 5.1% year on year (y-o-y) from November 2022.

Not to mention that over the last 30 years (1991 to 2021), the Average Core Inflation Rate (MAS Core Inflation) stands at 1.51%.

If your salary is not increasing at a higher rate than inflation, you are actually taking a pay cut as things are getting more expensive.

Generally, a company’s retention budget is lower than its recruitment budget.

This is reflected in the Singapore Salary Survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters. The company claims that you would see an average salary increase of about 15 to 20 per cent when you change jobs within the same industry in Singapore in 2023.

In contrast, Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) forecasts that salaries in Singapore will only increase by 3.75 per cent on average in 2023.

2. There is No Room for Career Advancement and Personal Development

This point is a bit subjective as you could personally be happy with not advancing your career if you are content with your pay and benefits, and happy with your colleagues and company culture.

But if you value moving up the ranks within a clearly defined career track, a lack of career advancement at your company could signal that it may be time to leave.

If you stay longer in a role where your company cannot reward the development of your experience and skills with career progression and new challenges, it can be quite disparaging in the long term.

If you have spoken to your boss and realised that your employer cannot provide you with career advancement opportunities or help you in your personal development, you should start considering your options.

3. Staying at Your Job is Causing Your Health to Worsen

This one is pretty straightforward.

If your job is causing your physical and mental health to deteriorate for whatever reason, it could signify that you should switch jobs or take a break.

Source: Giphy

One common ailment would be work-induced burnout.

For the uninitiated, burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused when excessive stress builds up and with no proper outlet present for relieving that stress.

Unlike stress, which comes suddenly as a response to pressure, burnout is built up over a long period.

Burnout causes the person suffering from it to feel easily overwhelmed or a lack of interest or joy in their daily tasks.

Knowing the difference between burnout and stress helps you know what type of help you should get.

But if you have tried taking a break, seeking therapy and making a considerable effort to recover, it could be the job that is the problem.

4. You Are Not as Motivated as Before

Remember your first day at work?

For most, it may have been a high point as you would be motivated to do well, proud to call yourself an employee of the company and excited by the potential of the role.

But things change.

The office environment and culture may have changed or colleagues may have left, causing your faith and confidence in the company to diminish.

Maybe some of the company’s strategic or commercial decisions don’t sit well with you. Perhaps you think that a change in management has made the company worse off.

Also, people change.

You might now think that the company ideals are no longer sufficiently aligned with your own.

A lack of shared values might serve as a strong incentive. It might be time to switch if this matches what you are experiencing.

5. There is a Mismatch Between Your Skills and Personal Interests

At times, people may be hired for roles that they are highly proficient at but may not particularly enjoy.

You could be a whiz at marketing but really want to work as a developer. You might be an excel wizard or have a way with words but you’ll instead be meeting stakeholders than sitting all day in front of a screen.

It’s normal to want to match your personal interests with your work activities, though it’s not always simple to do so. The longer you wait, however, the more difficult it can be to switch as you become more and more specialized in a sector that you don’t feel is truly yours.

But before you change jobs, do talk to your boss and ask if there might be opportunities to tweak your work scope or transfer you to another department that is more aligned with your interests. If this doesn’t work out, it may be time to switch jobs and seize change the course of your career.


Ultimately, every person’s situation is different. 

But if you find yourself ticking off the majority of the things on the list, it could be high time to look for a new job.

Granted that your situation or circumstances might make it difficult.

But I believe our destiny is determined by choice and shaped by our decisions.

After all, you owe it to yourself to get out of a bad situation.

About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. I hope to help people make better financial decisions and not let money control them.
You can contribute your thoughts like Joel Koh here.

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