A significant number of organisations globally are planning to skip providing salary increases to a majority of their employees in 2021, revealed a new Korn Ferry survey. 

These sentiments were echoed by organisations in Singapore. Only 46% said they are planning to give an increase to at least 9 out of 10 staff in 2021. At the same time, a significant 30% were planning for no increases.

Of the companies in Singapore that are planning for pay rises, the headline salary increase stood at 3.0%, excluding inflation and respondents who indicated 0% increases. While, real salary increase expected is 2.1%, significantly lower than the 3.1% increase implemented for 2020 (excluding inflation and respondents who indicated 0% increases).

Across Asia, headline salary increase stood at 4.8% (excluding respondents who indicated 0%). Among the 14 markets in the region, employers in Pakistan look to be the most generous, with a planned increase of 8.2%, while those in Japan had the tightest budgets, with a planned increase of only 2.0%.

Salary increases across 14 markets in Asia (at headline median values, from highest to lowest)

  1. Pakistan
    • Including zero: 8.0%
    • Excluding zero: 8.2%
  2. India
    • Including zero: 7.2%
    • Excluding zero: 7.8%
  3. Vietnam
    • Including zero: 7.1%
    • Excluding zero: 7.2%
  4. Philippines
    • Including zero: 5.5%
    • Excluding zero: 5.8%
  5. China
    • Including zero: 5.0%
    • Excluding zero: 5.0%
  6. Malaysia
    • Including zero: 5.0%
    • Excluding zero: 5.0%
  7. Thailand
    • Including zero: 4.1%
    • Excluding zero: 4.4%
  8. Indonesia
    • Including zero: 3.5%
    • Excluding zero: 5.0%
  9. Papua New Guinea
    • Including zero: 3.5%
    • Excluding zero: 3.5%
  10. Korea
    • Including zero: 3.4%
    • Excluding zero: 3.9%
  11. Taiwan, China
    • Including zero: 3.0%
    • Excluding zero: 3.2%
  12. Singapore
    • Including zero: 2.0%
    • Excluding zero: 3.0%
  13. Hong Kong, China
    • Including zero: 2.0%
    • Excluding zero: 2.6%
  14. Japan
    • Including zero: 2.0%
    • Excluding zero: 2.0%

Globally, nearly a third of the respondents said they will provide increases to 50% or fewer of their employees, while only 35% of survey participants said that 100% of employees will be eligible for increases.

As the effects of the pandemic are still unfolding, more than three times as many organisations are planning to skip increases altogether as compared to 2020 (16% in 2021, as compared to 5% in 2020).

Kartikey Singh, Senior Client Partner, Korn Ferry Singapore said, “As the economy starts to recover, a lot of work will be contractual, temporary, services-led, and driven especially by technology-aligned services. This might create pressure on governments and organisations to develop tech talent at a much faster pace. While the overall pay increases might look sanguine, talent scarcity for areas like product and application development, cybersecurity in certain sectors like e-commerce, technology and fintech can drive significant pay premiums for these job categories. This will force organisations to practice differentiated pay strategies for various employee and skill groups.”

“More than ever, it will be important for organisations to ensure that their employees continue to feel valued and rewarded,” said Korn Ferry Global Leader, Rewards and Benefits, Don Lowman. “As financial resources are constrained, organisations need to focus more on a ‘total rewards’ approach.”

korn ferry global salary survey 2021 infographic

Photo / 123RF

Infographic / Korn Ferry

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