After 2020's salary freezes, pay in the Asia Pacific is expected to increase by an average of 5.3 percent in 2021, according to the latest salary planning budget survey by Willis Towers Watson. Projected salary increases were greatest in Bangladesh and India at 8.0 and 7.9 percent respectively, while Japan and Brunei saw the lowest predictions at 2.2 and 3.0 percent.
This trend pairs with a reduction in the number of companies freezing pay increases—down to 13 percent this year, from 30 percent during the worst of the pandemic last year. Those industries which saw growth during 2020, such as pharmaceutical, health care, or technology, are also expected to see the largest pay increases this year at 5 percent or more.
Edward Hsu, Business Leader, Rewards Data & Software in Asia Pacific at WTW, said of the findings: “Digitalization has played a key role in accelerating organization transformation in many markets. This shift has had an impact on talent demand trends. In markets such as China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, roles in Sales, Data Science and Risk Management have had the highest compensation increase. These functions saw a higher demand for talent and movement in pay.”
In addition, the survey found that executives and managers are likely to see the greatest pay growth, possibly because their pay is already so much higher than the average worker's that the same percentage increase translates to a very much larger absolute number. This difference is particularly marked in emerging markets, according to the statistics, with executive pay in countries such as Indonesia, India, China, or the Philippines being at least 25 times greater than workers' pay. The gap narrows considerably in mature markets such as South Korea, Japan, or Australia.