Report charts evolution across five Southeast Asian job markets

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

SEEK has released key findings from its Southeast Asia’s Hiring, Compensation, and Benefits Report 2024

This report aims to help businesses and talent navigate the evolving job market, spotlighting the rapid evolution of the employment landscape across five markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. 

Some of the key findings include:

Organisational stress levels and the impact on mental health 

Among the report’s key findings is the assessment of organisational stress levels, with companies in Singapore reporting the highest average stress levels overall. Across Southeast Asia (SEA), the top causes of stress for employees are a heavy workload (37%), high pressure from management (27%) and lack of ample career development opportunities (23%). 

The report identifies that there is still work to be done by companies regionally to create more supportive environments for talent when it comes to overall mental health and stress support. About 7 in 10 (71%) respondents described their workplace as moderately stressful. However, less than half (48%) of companies are currently offering sufficient support to help employees cope with the stress, indicating significant room for improvement. 

Encouragingly, in line with the ongoing efforts to enhance mental health support, 46% of SEA companies surveyed have introduced new initiatives in 2023 to help their employees cope with stress. More companies in the Philippines (30%) and Indonesia (15%) are prioritising mental health or wellness counselling talks; while Malaysia (17%) and Singapore (11%) have a stronger prioritisation towards employee organisation activities that help to boost employee engagement.

Job market confidence wanes for H2 2024

Despite fairly balanced job market confidence levels among SEA countries (52%) for the first half of 2024, this is projected to decline in the second half of the year, dropping to 37%. This dip is likely due to a higher degree of uncertainty around market expectations, which could be influenced by various factors, including economic conditions and global events.

Indonesia (44%) and the Philippines (41%) exhibited higher confidence levels than average across SEA, while both Singapore and Malaysia exhibited lower than average confidence levels at 32%. This reflects a broader trend of increased caution and concern about potential slowdowns in the latter half of the year.

Compensation & Benefits take centre stage to keep talent engaged and happy

Despite the waning job market confidence, it remains crucial for companies to assess and enhance their compensation and benefits strategies to keep existing talent engaged and satisfied and attract new ones.

Companies often rely on a wide array of key information, including salary benchmarks, inflation rates, and other metrics, to formulate compensation strategies and provide employee increments. Understanding the solutions that top companies employ is crucial for any organisation striving to attract and retain top talent.

  • Measures Implemented: Companies across SEA have proactively taken measures to enhance their compensation and benefits offerings to remain competitive.
    • Salary benchmarking emerges as the most popular, implemented by slightly more than half of the companies (52%)
    • Salary benchmarking is of a higher prevalence in Malaysia (59%) and the Philippines (58%)
  • Company Bonus: Due to robust business recovery post-pandemic, more SEA companies awarded bonuses to their employees in 2023. 
    • Performance bonuses remained the most popular type of bonus given, with the total average bonus payout increasing to 1.86 months of salary. 
    • Notably, in Malaysia, the average payout was the highest, at 2.4 times the monthly salary, followed closely by the Philippines at 2.3 times the monthly salary.
  • Salary Increment: The improvement in business performance prompted a larger proportion of SEA companies (85%) to share their profits by rewarding their employees with salary increases in 2023. 
    • The average salary increment in 2023 was 7%, with companies in the Philippines offering the highest increment (10.2%), followed closely by Indonesia (7.6%). 
    • Meanwhile, Singapore is below the region’s average at 5.8%. 
  • Employee Promotions: In conjunction with salary increments, there was also an increase in promotions in 2023, with 64% of employees experiencing career advancement opportunities across the region.
    • Staff promotions are particularly higher in the Philippines (70%) and Indonesia (67%), and lower in Singapore at 59%.