Which countries have the highest paid employees in Asia-Pacific?

Willis Towers Watson’s 2015/2016 Global Remuneration Report reveals that base salaries are highest in Singapore, as compared to other countries in Asia Pacific.

The survey looked at salaries across 3 job grades – professionals, senior management and top management.

Salaries in Singapore are 8% higher than Hong Kong on average. Hong Kong is the highest paying economy of the Greater China Region.

The largest salary gap between Singapore and China is at the professional level, where salaries double in Singapore. From middle management, up to senior and top management levels, employees in Singapore earn 28 to 52 percent more.


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“As a leading economy in the region, Singapore enhances the competitiveness in the international area. They want to bring in top talent with the best knowledge of practices from all parts of the world. It allows them to offer a higher competitive salary to bring in the managers,” stated Mr. Sambhav Rakyan, a data services practice leader with Willis Towers Watson in the Asia Pacific.

Aside from Singapore, eleven other countries were part of the Asia Pacific section in the report. Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand are included in the report.

  • Indonesia pays their executives a higher pay grade than other countries in South East Asia, right behind Singapore.
  • However, Indonesia executive salaries are still five per cent to 44 per cent lower than China’s base pay for their employees.
  • Malaysia and Thailand pay their executives the least, and the professional levels are paid the least in the Philippines.

Mr. Rakyan declares the lower salaries in the Southeast Asian countries provide a competitive edge.

“Low-cost labor is not a major selling point of China, and the pay level illustrates that point. China is more expensive than other areas, and the developed infrastructure and skilled workforce will continue to bring in companies, compared to economies in Southeast Asia. An emphasis on quality and sustainability for products and services will continue to attract talent to China, and the base salaries will continue to be higher than other countries.”

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