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Pay rises highest in Asia, but employees unhappy

A latest survey of the region by Hewitt shows as many as 46 per cent of Asians are unhappy with their pay increases, writes Narayanan Madhavan.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2007 20:42 IST
Narayanan Madhavan
Narayanan Madhavan
Hindustan Times

The Tiger and the Dragon are passé, and it is time perhaps to hail the Golden Lion shining on Sri Lanka's flag.

While Asian economies as a whole are roaring away in global salary sweepstakes, the latest survey of the region by global human resource consulting firm Hewitt shows that the small island has zipped ahead of India this year in average pay increases effected this year.

But happiness is not a pay increase. As many as 46 per cent of Asians are unhappy with their pay increases, Hewitt said in a statement.

Hewitt said its study finds that the prime challenge faced by organisations in Asia in implementing variable pay plans is poor communication of their objectives and measures to employees.

High economic growth as well as increased energy prices and inflationary pressures powered fatter pay-packets in Sri Lanka that showed a 15.3 per cent average pay rise, compared with India's 14.8 per cent, up from 14.4 per cent last year. China reported an increase of 8.6 per cent.

"Exernal inequity of pay", an oblique way to describe higher salaries offered by other companies, was cited as the top reason for employees quitting jobs in the survey of 1,800 companies across the Asia-Pacific region. The survey covered 14 markets including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and South Korea. The survey measured actual and projected salary increases, and compensation practices for six specific job categories -- top executive, senior management, middle management, junior manager/supervisor/professional/, general staff, and manual workforce.

The Asia-Pacific region as a whole witnessed the highest salary rise in the world, followed by Latin America and Europe, Hewitt said, but a company spokeswoman added that both within regions and between regions, increases were disparate.

"The pull is on the side of the people today. With more opportunities and avenues, organisations are increasingly at the mercy of employees making a choice," the statement quoted Nishchae Suri, head of Hewitt's talent and organisation consulting analytics practice, as saying.

"Focus needs to be on making pay more transparent by making it competitive and aligning it to performance," he said.

Hewitt's study indicates that variable pay continues to be an important means of attracting and retaining talent, with 91.8 per cent of responding organisations using this practice.

Within variable pay choices, individual performance awards continue to be the most popular, with nearly 68 per cent of responding organisations saying that this is their preferred type of variable pay plan, followed by special recognition awards and business incentives.

First Published: Nov 21, 2007 20:22 IST