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Press Release

Inflation and tight labour market push companies to increase pay rises in APAC this year, WTW survey finds

Two in five employers are projecting higher salary budgets for 2022

Future of Work|Total Rewards
N/A

January 19, 2022

ASIA PACIFIC, January 19, 2022 — Fueled by tight labour markets and the rise in inflation this year, employers in Asia Pacific (APAC) are boosting their salary increase projections for 2022 according to the latest Salary Budget Planning Survey Report by WTW (Willis Towers Watson, NASDAQ: WTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The survey of 5,728 companies in APAC, conducted between October and November 2021, found two in five respondents (42%) are planning for higher salary budgets this year. A quarter of the respondents (25%) have changed and increased their expected salary increase budgets for 2022 from the original projections made in July last year. Companies in APAC are now budgeting an overall average increase of 5.08% for executives, management and professional employees, and support staff this year. Companies gave employees an average pay increases of 4.62% in 2021.

Average salary increases across markets in APAC

WTW 2021 Salary Budget Planning Survey Report – Asia Pacific (December 2021 edition)
Average salary increases excluding zeros
Markets 2021 Actual
Salary Increases
2022 Projected
Salary Increases
Australia 3.1% 3.2%
China 5.6% 6.0%
Hong Kong 3.3% 3.8%
India 8.7% 9.2%
Indonesia 5.8% 6.6%
Japan 2.3% 2.6%
Malaysia 4.1% 4.7%
Philippines 4.9% 5.4%
Singapore 3.4% 3.8%
South Korea 3.8% 4.3%
Taiwan 3.6% 3.8%
Thailand 4.2% 4.8%
Vietnam 7.2% 7.8%

Edward Hsu, Business Leader, Rewards Data and Software, Asia Pacific, WTW, said: “There seems little doubt that costs, wages and prices are going up this year. Our study shows that employers are influenced by different factors in adjusting their salary budget projections this year. However, with APAC’s consumer price index (CPI) expected to hit 3% or even more in some markets, employers will most likely take living costs into account for salary increases.”

According to the study, one-third (30%) of employers cited the tight labour market for increasing their budgets from prior projections, while 23% cited anticipated stronger financial results and 19% on concerns related to cost management such as inflation and rising cost of supplies.

In addition, a shortage of manpower in some sectors is driving up demand for skilled workers, and a push for growth in others is igniting a war for talent as companies compete to attract and retain employees who have more choices than in recent years. The total attrition rates in several markets such as Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand have increased significantly, with most now exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

Average overall salary increase in key industries in APAC

WTW 2021 Salary Budget Planning Survey Report – Asia Pacific (December 2021 edition)
Average of overall salary increase in key industries excluding zeros
Industry in APAC 2021 Actual
Salary Increases
2022 Projected
Salary Increases
General Industry 4.62 5.08
Consumer Products and Retail 4.93 5.05
Financial Services 4.09 4.85
High Tech 4.76 5.39
Insurance 4.02 4.96
Manufacturing 4.45 4.98
Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences 4.93 5.12

“The labour market anticipates new joiners not only from the unemployed but also from the currently employed talent pool, prompting employers to closely look into their retention strategies. Whether an organisation is experiencing the Great Resignation or the Great Hire phenomena, having relevant and competitive pay and benefit packages remains critical to attracting and retaining talent. There is a great reprioritisation of work, rewards and careers under way, and it’s putting significant pressure on compensation programmes for many employers,” added Edward.

“With an evolving pandemic situation, unstable talent market and changing pay conditions, employers will need to monitor market trends and changes, and proactively review and adjust their company practices accordingly. Bigger pay rises alone will not be enough to help address their attraction and retention challenges. Winning the talent race will require employers to continue to be creative and comprehensive with their Total Rewards strategy. It is also important to design a forward-looking rewards programme that is built for future success to support the business.”

About the report

The Salary Budget Planning Survey Report is compiled by WTW’s Data Services practice. The survey was conducted between October and November 2021. Approximately 18,000 sets of responses were received from companies across 130 countries worldwide. A total of 5,728 companies in Asia Pacific across 27 markets responded.

The report summarises the findings of WTW’s bi-annual survey on salary movement and reviews practices as a means of helping companies with their compensation planning for 2022 and beyond.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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