Pay rises expected at APAC tech and media firms, marketing a top recruitment area

Strong foreign direct investment into the Asia Pacific region along with the demand for technology, communication and 5G equipment, have created new demand and job opportunities across the high tech and media industries. According to the latest Salary Budget Planning Report by advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson, high tech companies in the region are projecting the largest increases in salary raises (5.5%) followed by manufacturing (5.4%), pharmaceutical and health sciences (5.2%) and media companies (5.2%). Meanwhile, Willis Towers Watson's spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE the marketing function is projected as one of the top five areas of recruitment in the next 12 months in Singapore, alongside sales, IT, engineering and technical skilled trades.

This trend comes as Asia Pacific companies plan to give employees larger raises next year as they recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic and face mounting challenges attracting and retaining employees. According to the report, nearly 50% of companies in Singapore expect their business performance to be ahead of target this year and 47.3% to be in line with their business outlook for 2021. Employers in Singapore are expecting an average salary budget increase of 3.2% for 2021 and 3.7% for 2022.

According to the report, companies in fintech, media, and pharmaceutical and health sciences in Singapore reported the highest average salary budget increments at 4.2%, 4.0% and 4.4% respectively for next year. Industries such as energy and natural resources indicated the lowest average salary budget increase at 3.1% for 2022.

pr 2021 sbp july salary increase by industry ap


Meanwhile, companies in Asia Pacific are projecting average salary increases of 5.3% for executives, management and professional employees, and support staff next year. This is up from the average 4.9% increases employees were granted this year. Meanwhile, emerging markets such as India and Indonesia are forecasting a 0.6% more increase in raises for 2022 compared with this year. According to Willis Towers Watson, markets in APAC will see the highest 2022 salary increases, while countries in North America and Western Europe are expected to stay flat, with the rest of the regions taking longer to recover and stabilise. 

pr 2021 sbp july salary increase by market ap

Higher salary rises in 2021 are partially attributed to few companies freezing pay increases. In 2020, an unprecedented number of companies cancelled salary reviews (30%) in APAC, whereas in 2021, the figure dropped to 13% and is forecast to return to the low level of 2.5% next year. Notably, rises are returning to close to pre-pandemic levels. The larger rises coincide with a surge in demand for labour and a shortage in supply of specific professional roles with premium skills. 

Edward Hsu, business leader, rewards data and software at APAC Willis Towers Watson, said that although there is a positive outlook among businesses, companies are also monitoring the inflation trend as it looks set to increase in several markets in APAC. “Organisations may further adjust their 2022 salary budget forecast in the later part of this year,” he added.

The survey was carried out between April and June this year, with 1,405 companies representing a wide variety of industries across 13 Asia Pacific markets including Indonesia and Malaysia. The report provides data on actual salary budget increase percentages for the past and current years, along with projected increases for next year.

Earlier this year, RGF International Recruitment’s annual report, "Salary Watch 2021: Singapore", skilled talent in the area of digital transformation still remains short and therefore, highly sought after. Tech and healthcare sectors are expected to lead the hiring demand in Singapore, with R&D and digitalisation functions expecting a 15% salary increment this year. The domestic/cross border eCommerce management function is also expected to see a 5% salary increment this year, alongside mobile application development (5%), cybersecurity (5%), and front and backend engineering (3%). 

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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