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In Singapore? Odds are, you’re looking for a new job

A significant number of workers in Singapore intend to change jobs in the coming year, according to a new report by recruitment firm Hudson, in the latest sign of tight labor conditions in the city-state.

In its '2014 Salary & Employment Insights' report for Singapore, Hudson said that about 40 percent of workers surveyed have changed jobs in the last two years while about 71 percent are currently on the hunt for a new employer.

(Read more: Singapore economy hits a bump in fourth quarter)

"My feedback to a lot of organizations is that if you look around your room, 71 percent of people you are staring at are actively or passively looking for a new role and of that 71 percent, 87 percent expect to have a new job in the next 12 months," Andrew Tomich, executive general manager for Hudson Singapore, told CNBC. "For Singapore, this is a relatively high number."

Unemployment in the Southeast Asian state stands at 1.8 percent, well below levels in most developed countries. The unemployment rate is about 3.3 percent in Hong Kong and 4 percent in Japan.

Pedestrians on a bridge overlooking the financial district in Singapore
Rosland Rahman | AFP | Getty Images
Pedestrians on a bridge overlooking the financial district in Singapore

Another key finding from the report by Hudson, whose clients include a number of multi-national firms, was expectations for a modest pay increase this year.

According to the survey, conducted in November, 86 percent of employees in Singapore expected a pay increase with almost 20 percent wanting an increase of more than 10 percent.

(Read more: For foreigners, has securing a job in Singapore just gotten harder?)

An rise in the cost of living and a high level of performance were the main reasons cited by workers for expecting a pay increase, Hudson said.

A majority of the employers surveyed by the firm, about 53 percent, expected to keep a steady headcount in the first three months of this year and aim to peg salary rises at 3-5 percent for the coming year.

That's still above inflation. Singapore's consumer price index stood at 2.6 percent in November from a year earlier, according to latest official data.

(Read more: Wage-cost worries creep up in Singapore)

"When you have a low unemployment rate and have the ability to secure another job very quickly, then it makes it very tough for employers to retain their people," said Hudson's Tomich.

"We looked at the other things you can do besides just raising salary. And we found that 90 percent of people valued bonuses and the next thing was flexible working hours. There is a change in the Singapore market because this doesn't normally come up," he added.

Salary increases are expected to be modest this year as the economy slows, a weekend report in Singapore's Strait Times newspaper cited recruitment, remuneration firms and industry associations as saying.

Data released last week showed Singapore's economy grew 4.4 percent on year in the fourth quarter of 2013, slowing from a 5.9 percent pace in the third quarter.

The Singapore government forecasts the economy to grow by 2-4 percent this year.

The Hudson report was based on a survey of 477 employers and 1,292 employees.

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter @DharaCNBC

Contact World Economy

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