Wooing Workers: Employers Get Creative

An iPhone

(Photo: Alexander Andrews/Unsplash)

Employers get creative: using iPhone SEs to woo employees. This was part of Malaysian restaurant Kanna Curry House’s bid to woo Malaysians to serve as waiters at its restaurant branches. But here’s the catch — these new employees must serve at least six months before they can get their hands on the iPhone SE.

Kanna Curry House has been struggling to fill vacancies because of the departure of 50 foreign staff that had returned to their home countries due to Covid-19.

Some other perks offered by companies include guaranteed bonuses, immediate-start to sign-on bonuses, more annual leaves, and medical coverage for their dependents.

Covid-19 induced labour shortages

As a result of the economic fallout caused by Covid-19 in 2020, Malaysia moved to protect the jobs of locals, at the cost of their foreign workers. As countries embark on their post-Covid-19 economic recovery, migrant workers are not returning fast enough — in Malaysia’s case, to fill over a million vacancies in their economy.

Malaysia is not alone in facing labour shortages. Here in Singapore, the situation is similar — job vacancies were at an all-time high in September 2021. There were 104,200 vacancies as compared to the same month in 2020.

Economists raised concerns that high vacancy rates could result in a wage-bidding war and an overall increase in labour wage costs — which would ultimately be passed on to consumers, like what we’re seeing in June and July 2022. The ‘contributions’ by inflation due to supply-chain disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is yet another story.

The slowed return of migrant workers does not just impact the service industry, but it also impacts the construction industry disproportionately. Our Housing Development Board (HDB) Build-To-Order (BTO) flats are similarly facing delays.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, construction works were halted until August 2020. There was a severe shortage of migrant workers as most have returned to their home countries as they could not remain here if they were not gainfully employed.

In late 2021, HDB’s workforce working on HDB projects was at 75% — it was recovering slowly, but still not at full capacity. The Government is keeping watch as Covid-19 resurges, coupled with other diseases like dengue, and supply-chain disruptions which could possibly contribute to the delays.

Returning to the topic on incentives — what is the true factor that attracts employees to workplaces? Is it merely over incentives or does the culture and nature of work matter as well? What do you look out for when you’re applying for a position?

Let us know in the comments below!

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About Author

A young Singaporean concerned about issues workers face. As humans, we spend a third of our lives sleeping and recharging, and another third for our personal life, and the last third at work (based on a 24-hr distribution). That's why we should pay attention to issues surrounding work.