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This week’s international HR headlines: Singapore’s gender pay gap, pensions shake-up in the GCC and older expats in Bahrain

1 Sep 2017 By PM Editorial

The top stories from People Management’s international websites

1. Singapore must do more to reduce gender pay gap

According to statistics from New York-based data resource group ValuePenguin, Singapore’s gender pay gap was 18 per cent in 2016, down just 1 per cent compared with 10 years ago. Lawrence Loh, director of the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations at the National University of Singapore Business School, described the problem as “deep rooted” and called for employers to work harder to secure equal pay for men and women.

2. Pensions systems are in need of a shake-up in the GCC

Pensions across the Middle East must be reformed to address wider economic challenges, a report by the World Bank Group and Arab Monetary Fund has found. Recommendations include developing adequate data to understand current pension systems, reviewing the national identification and IT systems used to support the delivery of pensions, and concentrating on improving the sustainability, equity and affordability of pensions.

3. Civil service academy could be on the cards for Hong Kong

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor proposed the introduction of a civil service academy following a visit to Singapore’s Civil Service College. Keen to promote innovative thinking among public servants – of which there are 170,000 in Hong Kong – Lam said the dedicated academy would provide training in a range of areas, including leadership and the application and use of technology.

4. Rising medical costs put pressure on MENA benefit packages

Providing an attractive employee benefits package will become increasingly challenging for organisations in the Middle East if medical costs continue to rise faster than other remuneration components. In its 2017 medical trends report, Mercer Marsh Benefits said that as medical costs outpace inflation, pressure was being put on employers’ operating expenses and employees’ purchasing power.

5. Bahrain rejects proposed ban on older expat workers

Expatriates who are aged over 50 and working in Bahrain will be breathing a sigh of relief that a proposal to ban them from working – based on the presumption that they are less efficient – was rejected by parliament recently. The proposal had stated that when expats reached the age of 50 “they were unable to do their work as intended in the best way possible”.

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