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Workforce Trends in Asia Pacific

Across Asia Pacific (APAC), employees have reported lower job satisfaction in 2022 and 81 percent are actively looking for a new position or are open to new employment opportunities. In today’s candidate-driven market, hiring managers recognize that competitive salaries and compensation plans are key drivers in employee attraction and retention. However, it’s equally important to focus on other motivators—including corporate culture alignment, flexible work options, and learning and development opportunities.

Salary: A Willis Tower Watson (WTW) report states that private companies are planning an average median salary increase of 5.7 percent for 2023. India was at the top of the ranking with a projected increase in salary budget of 10 percent, followed by Vietnam (8 percent), Indonesia (7 percent), and China (6 percent). A WTW spokesperson “cited compounding economic conditions and new ways of working for the revised salary budgets.”

Related: The Effect of Inflation on Attracting and Retaining Talent

The ADP People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View report cites the following statistics regarding salaries in Asia Pacific:

  • 81 percent of workers are likely to ask for a pay raise if they feel it’s deserved.
  • On average employees are working an additional 8.9 hours of overtime per week without pay.
  • 53 percent of workers are not satisfied with their current employment due to increased responsibility for no additional pay.

Corporate culture alignment: As stated by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), “an organization’s culture defines the proper way to behave within the organization. This culture consists of shared beliefs and values established by leaders and then communicated and reinforced through various methods, ultimately shaping employee perceptions, behaviors, and understanding.” A company’s culture influences its employees’ motivation and satisfaction, is linked with overall performance, and affects its talent attraction efforts. When choosing a job, the percentage of candidates who consider company culture a top priority is as follows across APAC:

  • Australia and New Zealand: 47 percent
  • Southeast Asia: 43 percent
  • India: 39 percent

Flexible work options: The International Data Corporation (IDC) found that more than 56 percent of employees in Asia Pacific want flexible work options—allowing them to work both in the office and remotely. 64 percent of workers would consider looking for another job if their employer insisted on them returning to the workplace full-time and 56 percent have thought about relocating within the country where they currently reside.

IDC also found that 70 percent of employees believe that flexible work options improve their productivity or keep it at the same level when compared to before the pandemic. Beyond remote work flexibility, 59 percent of employees desire flexi-time (the ability to work hours outside of core business periods), and 28 percent want a four-day work week. Other benefits of flexible work options include improved work-life balance, enhanced health and well-being, and reduced work-related costs.

Virtual learning and development opportunities: Across Asia Pacific, there’s an increasing shortage of tech skills driven by the acceleration of digitization within business operations. To keep up with the pace of technological advancements, 78 million workers across APAC require digital skills and two in three workers do not feel confident that they are gaining digital skills fast enough to meet their future career needs. Workers want (38 percent) more online professional development and learning opportunities. Virtual learning and video-based resources make learning available in easy-to-digest and bite-size formats.

Related: The Growing Demand for Tech Talent in India

Money is important to workers but so is meaning. Employees want fair pay but also desire work that provides a sense of fulfillment and meaning. They want to work for a company with a mission and values that align with their personal beliefs. A schedule with the flexibility to take care of personal responsibilities is also important to them. Lastly, they desire opportunities to gain the skills required to keep pace with APAC’s rapid and complex digital transformation. Organizations that are willing and able to meet workers’ needs and desires will win out over their competitors in attracting and retaining talent.

Related: 3 Ways to Create Meaning for Employees (Besides Money)

This blog was written by Acara India’s Senior Manager of Business Development Chris Joanna.