Top Asian countries with the biggest wage gap between entry and senior level jobs

Top Asian countries with the biggest wage gap between entry and senior level jobs

share on


Recent research has found there is a 15.3% increase of pay gaps between entry- and senior-level jobs across Asia, moderately behind Europe (+1.6%), Australia and New Zealand (+6.5%), North America (+9.0%) and Latin America (+12.5%).

Eight out of nine Asian countries managed to keep the growth of the widening pay gap under 15%. India saw by far the biggest surge in average salary discrepancy of those surveyed at 66.0%.

Ranking: Asian countries which experienced the smallest growth of pay gap between entry and senior level jobs since 2008

  1. Hong Kong (2.2%)
  2. China (2.6%)
  3. South Korea (4.3%)
  4. Thailand (9.3%)
  5. Japan (9.7%)
  6. Singapore (12.1%)
  7. Indonesia (12.7%)
  8. Malaysia (14.7%)
  9. India (66.0%)

“At the lower end of these labour markets, automation and offshoring means that enhanced productivity results in an abundance of available labour - more people than jobs – which slows the increases in pay,” said Bob Wesselkamper, Korn Ferry global head of rewards and benefits solutions.

“Meanwhile, at the higher end, there’s a shortage of people with important hard skills and proven experience, such as STEM. Organisations also have to compete for senior managers with in-demand soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, creative thinking and the ability to manage large and complex teams. Therefore, pay at this level is going up – and is likely to increase faster than other j

For countries where the gap narrowed or stayed the same, local factors play an important role. For example, in France and Italy (which experienced -5.8% and -3.1% respectively), the tax levels of top earners were raised higher, and government's discussion towards minimum wage requirements and restrictions were constantly influenced by the union.

Ranking: Countries with a reduced pay gap between entry and senior level jobs since 2008

  1. Romania (-18.8%)
  2. Venezuela (-18.1%)
  3. Latvia (-17.1%)
  4. Lithuania (-16.8%)
  5. Poland (-13.4%)
  6. Luxembourg and France (-5.8%)
  7.  Austria (-4.1%)
  8. Switzerland (-3.7%)
  9. Italy (-3.1%)
  10. Russian Federation (-3.0%)
  11. Hungary (-2.6%)
  12. Argentina (-2.0%)

The pay gap was calculated by dividing the typical pay for people at senior management levels in each country by the typical pay for people at entry-level positions. The result was then compared with the equivalent result from 2008, with the difference being calculated as a percentage figure. Fifty-eight countries are included in this analysis.

share on

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window