Asia-Pacific companies planning larger pay raises in 2022: Survey

In Singapore, employers expect an average salary budget increase of 3.2 per cent for 2021 and 3.7 per cent for 2022. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Employers in the Asia-Pacific plan to give the highest 2022 salary increases compared with North America and Western Europe, which are expected to stay flat, according to findings from a Willis Towers Watson survey.

Asia-Pacific companies estimate average salary increases of 5.3 per cent for executives, management and professional employees and support staff in 2022. This will be higher than the 4.9 per cent average increases employees were granted this year, the study noted.

High-tech companies in the region are projecting the largest increases (5.5 per cent) followed by manufacturing (5.4 per cent), pharmaceutical and health sciences (5.2 per cent) and media companies (5.2 per cent).

Strong foreign direct investment into the Asia-Pacific, along with the demand for technology, communication and 5G equipment, have created new demand and job opportunities across the high-tech and media industries, Willis Towers Watson said.

Companies are also going through extensive planning 2021 and experimenting with hybrid models that better fit employee lifestyle, which may result in long-term business savings. This means companies will need to pay top dollar to retain top talent, amid a buoyant job market and challenges surrounding engaging employees outside an office environment.

"Beyond competitive salaries, which are table stakes at the moment, companies also need to focus their spend on a diverse set of benefits, well-being and upskilling programmes to drive employee engagement," said Edward Hsu, business leader, rewards data and software, Asia-Pacific, Willis Towers Watson.

In Singapore, employers expect an average salary budget increase of 3.2 per cent for 2021 and 3.7 per cent for 2022. This is especially so in the fintech, media, pharmaceutical and health sciences sectors, with companies reporting the highest average salary budget increments at 4.2 per cent, 4 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively for next year.

Organisations are also likely to create more jobs in functions such as sales, information technology and engineering. Some 27 per cent of companies surveyed have plans to raise headcount in the next 12 months.

"Increments are expected across the board in organisations, particularly at junior and mid-levels, partially driven by the turnover rates at these levels," the report said.

On the flip side, the energy and natural resources industries indicated the lowest average salary budget increase at 3.1 per cent for 2022.

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