What HR professionals in Southeast Asia can expect to earn in 2019

What HR professionals in Southeast Asia can expect to earn in 2019

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With the year coming to an end, it's time to start planning for 2019. According to the Robert Walters Salary Survey 2019, across Southeast Asia, businesses are placing more focus on employee retention by investing in training, offering various benefits, as well as providing attractive counter-offers for their top talent.

"Employers looking to hire skilled professionals will need to do more to secure the talent they want. This includes providing a competitive salary and benefits package, acting swiftly and maintaining good communication throughout the recruitment process," noted Toby Fowlston, Managing Director, South East Asia, Robert Walters.

Here are the HR related forecasts for the Southeast Asian markets covered - Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.


In 2019, candidates in Singapore can expect increments of 7%-15% when moving jobs.

In HR, while hiring at the executive level will remain relatively modest, mid-level professionals are expected to continue being in demand as businesses look to up-skill their HR teams, training them to move into the role of a business partner.

Companies will seek innovative HR professionals who can relate business objectives to people strategies and those who challenge organisational norms to create effective HR policies and initiatives that benefit both employees and the business will be in demand. At the same time, candidates with strong experience will be favoured.

While relatively conservative increments were seen in 2018, in the coming year, HR professionals can expect their pay to increase with promotion and development or when moving jobs.

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In 2019, a more optimistic recruitment market is expected in Malaysia. Job movers across the various functions can expect pay hikes of 20%-30%.

In the HR function, demand for candidates is expected to remain stable in 2019. Candidates with the ability to leverage a variety of technological and analytical tools to provide robust analysis of human capital data will be in high demand.

Companies will also be looking for HR talent with strong business acumen as well as those with specific skill sets and industry knowledge. Due to the rise of global shared services centres, professionals proficient in additional languages such as Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Telugu will be highly sought after.

In 2019, HR job movers can expect to receive salary rises of 15%-20%.

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Salaries are predicted to continue rising in 2019, with job movers across all functions likely to receive average rises of 20% to 25%.

In the HR function, similar to this year, high-calibre candidates with experience across the full HR spectrum will be in high demand in 2019. In particular, professionals with experience in organisational development and compensation and benefits will be in high demand.

There will also be strong demand for those with international exposure. At the same time, the ability to communicate well in English is also increasingly becoming a prerequisite.

Similar to 2018, HR professionals moving jobs can continue to expect pay rises of 20%-30% in 2019.

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Overall, job movers in the Philippines can expect an average salary growth rate of 20% in 2019 with niche roles commanding greater increments.

In 2019, the HR market is expected to be impacted by the next phase of the country's comprehensive tax law reform, including changes in corporate taxes and the removal of specific tax incentives. These reforms will drive strong demand for strategic compensation and benefits and organisational development experts, as companies look to safeguard operations from a macroeconomic perspective.

HR professionals in demand include the digitally savvy, those with experience in managing regional and global counterparts, as well as HR specialists capable of understanding the needs of organisations and conceiving tailored measures to support and add value to the business.

Job movers in the HR function can expect to garner average pay increases of 20%-25% in 2019, with additional premiums expected for candidates within highly specialised HR functions.

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In 2019, job movers' salary increments will vary by role. Those in back office or support roles can expect 15%-20% increments while those in front office roles can expect 20%-30% increments. While job seekers with niche skills may be able to negotiate premium rises of 30%.

In the HR market, candidates who demonstrate strong business acumen and have experience in change management, strategic planning, stakeholder management and organisation will remain highly sought after.

At the same time, companies will also seek HR professionals who are change agents and business partners to top management. These professionals will need  strong people management skills and have the ability to communicate with individuals at all levels.

Mid-level candidates with international experience and a strong command  of English will also continue to be in demand.

In 2018, a number of job seekers demanded 30% increments when moving jobs, with employers who were not able to match this expectation offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives to secure desired candidates.

The report predicts that in 2019, sue to a limited pool of talent, employers will continue to be ready to match these  expectations and offer competitive remuneration and incentive packages.

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Recruitment trends are expected to remain similar in 2019. As the Vietnam market matures, demand for professionals with experience working in established markets as well as a good understanding of local cultures will increase. Job movers can expect an average increment of 15%-25%.

In HR, candidates with good HR generalist knowledge and experience in helping organisations set up and establish their operations will continue to be in high demand. At the same time, companies will be looking for professionals who demonstrate excellent leadership skills and the ability to develop and execute HR strategies that complement business objectives.

As more Millennials join the workforce, organisations are also seeking HR talent that can understand and juggle the needs of the next-generation workforce with those of the current generation of staff. HR teams are also expected to adapt outdated policies and initiatives to ensure inclusive and healthy corporate cultures.

This high demand for strong HR leadership talent will inflate salaries of HR professionals in 2019, particularly for those in senior roles such as directors and senior managers. In general, job movers in the function can expect to see a rise of 20%-30%.

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Photo / 123RF

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