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Article | Beyond Data

Understanding your employees to power pay, benefits and performance in 2023

By Edward Hsu , Eva Liu and Anita Chiang | January 17, 2023

Looking at people challenges by generation reveals some surprising insights for employers to address. Embracing these unique generational needs can help drive HR planning this year and beyond.
Compensation Strategy & Design|Health and Benefits|Employee Experience|Employee Financial Resilience
Beyond Data

Asia Pacific’s economic environment and compensation landscape remain dynamic and uncertain. The variable needs of a diverse workforce population adds an extra layer of complexity and interest.

The tight labour market is still one of the top challenges of employers in the region. The unemployment rate is expected to dip from 3.9% to 3.6% in 2023.

Almost all markets in the region suffered attrition last year, especially Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. Correspondingly, 85% of employers are having a tough time attracting and retaining talent. With the pressures from the tightening labour market and rising inflation, employers continue to increase their salary budgets. According to our 2022 Salary Budget Planning Report – December edition, the average salary increase rate in 2022 was 5%, and is projected to increase to 5.2% in 2023.1

People challenges

Aside from the external factors influencing attraction and retention, there are also people challenges to navigate. And although base salary is an ever-important tool, it is only one part of the solution.

WTW’s 2022 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey reports that over 50% of employees in Asia Pacific are actively looking for a new role or are open to new offers – revealing a delicate connection between employees and employers.

With the workforce becoming ever more diverse, it is not easy to meet everyone’s unique needs. The pandemic has also affected employees’ wellbeing in various ways – physically, emotionally, socially and financially. Lastly, with the increasing emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and sustainability issues, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), setting up aligned and integrated benefits has become more complex.

Understanding your talent

Despite this complicated mix of challenges, understanding what’s going on is, ultimately, a future-proof way of addressing them.

Looking at workforce attraction and retention data across generations reveals interesting insights. The top two attraction factors across all generations are pay and bonus and job security. Beyond this, the generations set themselves apart.

Baby Boomers and Generation X are looking for a sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Millennials are seeking flexibility and career advancement, while Generation Z prioritises broader paid time off.2

Table shows attraction factors by generation - described from above paragraphs
Figure 1. Attraction factors by generation

An alarming revelation of generational workforce data is poor mental health for younger workers. An overwhelming percentage of Generation Z (42%) are suffering from anxiety or depression, the highest of all generations.2

Employees reporting poor mental health - described from above paragraph
Figure 2. Employees reporting poor mental health (anxiety or depression)

When it comes to remote work, Generation Z are somewhat unhappy with their current arrangements. Being in the early stages of their professional lives, remote work arrangements may raise concern about relationship building and career development. Fifteen percent want more face-to-face time, while 23% want to work more remotely. Baby Boomers are more satisfied, only 5% want more in office time, and 19% are keen to work more remotely.2

Remote work preferences by generation - described from above paragraph
Figure 3. Remote work preferences by generation

For performance management, organisations say their employees find it most valuable to review progress against goals and feedback and to discuss barriers to success.3

Organisations in Asia Pacific say their employees find aspects of performance reviews valuable
Figure 4. Organisations in Asia Pacific say their employees find aspects of performance reviews valuable

Understanding talent needs

When you fully understand your talent, you will be able to see a clearer path in crafting compensation, benefits and performance programs that are aligned to both the values of your organisation and the needs of your employees.


Provide more inclusive benefits, specific to employee populations. Emerging focuses in Asia Pacific include family benefits, time off, mental health and wellbeing, communication, agile working and LGBT+ benefits. It is also important to provide inclusive access to healthcare, such as investing in family planning options and benefits for gender-specific illnesses.


Get pay right with competitive salary increases and fair compensation. And to optimise the Total Rewards offering, there needs to be a balance between monetary compensations and non-monetary rewards, such as learning and development opportunities to drive employee engagement.


With different generations having different preferences and needs for on-site vs remote work, employers need to strike the right balance of hybrid opportunities and flexible work arrangements for their workforce.


The two youngest – and fastest growing – generations in the workforce value open dialogue with mentors and leaders, they are also invested in career development. It is critical to continuously enhance managers’ capabilities. Ensure that performance management processes encourage two-way discussions, and integrated technology to speak their language.

Knowing your employee population is critical. Millennials and Generation Z now make up almost half of the total workforce and will occupy 66% by 2030. To secure the right talent to drive organisation objectives – HR need to craft compensation, benefits and performance management programs that are aligned to employee’s unique values and generational needs. We can help. Get in touch with our experts below to find out how to power pay, benefits and performance in 2023.


1 2022 Salary Budget Planning Report – Asia Pacific (December edition)

2 WTW 2022 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey, Asia Pacific

3 WTW 2022 Performance Reset Survey, Asia Pacific


Rewards Data Intelligence Leader, International
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Head of Strategic Development, Health & Benefits, Asia Pacific
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Head of Work & Rewards, Taiwan
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