My company is seeing higher-than-usual attrition and also having trouble finding the right talent to fill roles. What's your take on the labour market in Asia and what's your advice?

Today's subject matter expert

Mansi Sabharwal
Reward Products Leader, Singapore, Mercer

The “Great Resignation” is a trending global phenomenon and faced with a growing shortage of skilled workers in Asia, companies are finding it more difficult to attract and retain talent. 


Harder to hire mid-career professionals in Southeast Asia


Dissatisfaction with pay and benefits and limited career advancement has emerged as the primary drivers of higher-than-usual attrition levels, according to Mercer’s latest COVID-19 pulse survey that polled more than 850 employers globally.


Most of the respondents in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand) observed a higher turnover rate, especially at the mid-career level when compared to previous years. With more mid-career professionals leaving their jobs, employers are also finding it more difficult to recruit them, primarily because of the inability to find the right skills at the right price. 


Higher turnover but resurgence in hiring for Singapore companies


Over in Singapore, Mercer conducted a standalone Hiring and Retention Survey for over 150 companies across 13 industries. 69% of the respondents reported an increase in turnover in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year.


Interestingly, the survey also showed a resurgence in hiring for Singapore companies due to a rise in replacement hiring (51%), business expansion (30%) and the opening of roles which were previously on hiring freeze (15%).


Talent attraction and retention more than just financial incentives


While there is a tendency to rely on financial incentives to compete for talent, it is not sustainable in the long run and can lead to wage inflation and pressure on margins.


Companies need to think beyond pay to avoid disrupting internal parity. Today’s employees are as driven by company culture, work-life balance, progression opportunities and flexibility as they are by salary.  Employers need to look at sustainability and address not only the financial, but also the physical, mental and emotional needs of employees.


Forward-thinking companies are now turning to non-monetary measures such as enhanced employee engagement, flexible working arrangements, training/upskilling, job enrichment and job re-design. The future of work only begins when employers make work more engaging and rewarding for employees. Simply throwing money across all levels and roles may cause unnecessary cost pressures. Salary differentiation for specific skills sets, high performers or critical roles will result in a more balanced approach to compensation.


Contact us today to find out how we can help you design a holistic employee value proposition to attract and retain talent in your organizations.

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