Wages set to rise across Asia Pacific

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Asia Pacific countries dominate the top highest real wage increases, occupying 14 spots out of the global top 20 according to the latest Salary Trends survey by ECA International. The company says Singaporeans will see their salaries increase by 4.0 per cent in 2019. After factoring in inflation, predicted by the International Monetary Fund to be 1.4 per cent next year, employees are expected to see a real salary increase of 2.6 per cent in 2019. This keeps Singapore near the middle of the salary increase table in Asia Pacific, ranking 11th out of 20 countries surveyed in the region. The 2019 forecast is lower compared to the increase received in 2018, but Singapore remains ahead of neighbouring Hong Kong.

“Singapore employees are expected to see a real salary increase of 2.6 per cent in 2019, down from the 2.9 per cent increase that they received this year,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International. “This is primarily due to the expected increase in inflation, from 1.0 per cent in 2018 to 1.4 per cent next year. However, Singapore will continue to see a higher increase than regional neighbours such as Hong Kong and Japan, and is only slightly below the Asia Pacific average of 2.7 per cent.”

ECA’s annual Salary Trends Report analyses current and projected salary increases for local employees in 69 countries across the world. Quane continued: “The average real salary increase in Asia Pacific is predicted to be 2.7 per cent in 2019 –more than double the global average of 1.2 per cent. Low inflation and rising productivity mean that many Asian economies, and therefore local salaries, are growing rapidly.”

India tops the rankings, with employees forecast to receive a 5.1 per cent real salary increase, more than twice the increase employees in Hong Kong will experience. Similarly, employees in other Asian countries with rapidly growing economies such as Vietnam and Indonesia will see significant increases to their average salary, and rank second and third respectively in the global rankings.

In greater China, mainland China will lead the way with real salaries increasing at the fastest rate in 2019, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Globally, China ranks fourth in real salary increase.

“Employees in mainland China are set to continue to see their salaries increase at the fastest rate in the greater China region, both in nominal terms and real terms. Within mainland China, the pay of employees in Shenzhen will likely rise the fastest next year,” said Quane. “Furthermore, employers in mainland China seem to be more positive on the economic outlook, with companies forecasting an increase in salaries in nominal terms of 6.5 per cent in 2019, compared to 6.0 per cent in 2018. This compares favourably to the rest of Asia Pacific, where the overall average nominal salary increase is set to remain unchanged at 5.5 per cent, similar to that in 2018.”

The impact of recent political events in Malaysia have not made a noticeable difference to salaries, as the nominal rates of salary increases will remain at 5 per cent in 2019, the same as in 2018. However, with inflation expected to increase at a faster rate in 2019 compared to 2018, Malaysians will not see as high a rate of increase in their real incomes in 2019 as they did this year.

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