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Asia-Pacific Salaries Expected to Rise Faster in 2022, Says Survey

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have highest projected salary increases, while Japan, New Zealand and Australia have the lowest

Labourers load consumer goods onto trucks at a wholesale market in Kolkata. The sector will experience the highest increases in salaries, according to Mercer data. Photo: Reuters


Asia-Pacific salaries are expected to rise faster in 2022 as economies show positive signs of recovery, according to a survey released this week.

Research by the Mercer group showed overall median salary increases are projected to average 5.4% across the region in 2022 despite divergent economic recoveries. That compares with 5.1% in 2021 and 4.8% in 2020.

The projected salary increments reflect a faster and stronger economic rebound when compared to the Global Financial Crisis, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to increase by 5.1% in 2022, Mercer said.

Data from Mercer’s Total Remuneration Survey 2021 showed that Pakistan has the highest projected salary increase in 2022 at 9%, followed by India with 8.7% and Bangladesh with 7.8%.

Japan (2.3%), New Zealand (2.6%) and Australia (2.8%) have the lowest expected increases.

Hong Kong (3.5%), Singapore (3.5%), Malaysia (4.5%), Philippines (5%) and Thailand (5%) came in below the regional median of 5.4%, while Indonesia came in above at 6.5%.

“The projected salary increments highlight a divergence in pay progression between emerging and developed economies,” Puneet Swani, Mercer’s career business leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa and the Pacific, said.

“We are seeing markets that have kept Covid-19 under control reporting higher than average pay raises.”


Consumer Goods Leads

Overall, the consumer goods industry will see the highest increases in salaries for 2022 at 5.8% across the region. The chemicals sector is expected to see the biggest rebound in salary increment at 5.5% in 2022, up from 4.9% in 2021.

While many companies intend to step up recruitment, efforts to find talent are complicated by borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Employers are putting greater emphasis on flexible work approaches, Mercer said.

Hiring across the region has also accelerated in the second half of 2021, Mercer said, as businesses shift their attention from reducing staff to hiring more, albeit still not at pre-pandemic levels.

“Despite the impact of the pandemic on global unemployment, employers in many markets are having difficulty finding talent especially with very limited talent mobility across countries due to border restrictions,” Swani said.

“Companies are looking to attract and retain their employees with more competitive compensation and benefit packages.”

Mercer’s survey was conducted in July and August 2021 and polled 1,730 companies in the region.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Asia-Pacific remains the fastest growing region in the world, but the gap in economic recoveries across the region is widening.


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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