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back to index backGLOBALtalk December,  2004

Asia-Pacific workers satisfied with jobs despite some misgivings with management and pay

Inaugural Watson Wyatt Worldwide WorkAsia™ study surveys employee attitudes in 11 markets across the Asia-Pacific region

Employees in the Asia-Pacific region, as a whole, have high levels of job satisfaction, according to a new study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global human capital consulting firm. Nevertheless, these same workers have doubts about the leadership skills of their senior managers and are largely dissatisfied with their compensation and benefits programs.

Approximately 115,000 Asian workers from 515 leading companies participated in the WorkAsia study. Sixty-three percent responded favorably to questions concerning overall job satisfaction, and 62 percent said the amount of work they are asked to complete is reasonable. In addition, 77 percent are proud to work for their company, and only 17 percent would consider moving to another company if offered a comparable job. Nearly one in three surveyed employees would take a pay cut to help their companies in difficult times, albeit with corresponding expectations that their pay would improve with better company performance.

The significance of these results for companies operating in Asia is underscored when considering the impact of job satisfaction on worker commitment,” said John Philip Orbeta, vice president and global practice director for the Human Capital Group at Watson Wyatt. Satisfied employees are much more likely to produce quality work and to help employers attract and retain the best talent.”

Interestingly, the survey also found that, while 72 percent of Asian employees generally feel their company conducts its business activities with integrity, less than one-third have favorable impressions of the trust between senior management and employees, suggesting that tension exists between the two groups. When asked to rate their supervisors on making decisions in a timely manner and encouraging employee involvement in decision-making, employees' favorable responses were only 35 percent and 30 percent respectively.

The very practices that Asian employees seem to be the most dissatisfied with are those that have proven to be the foundation for building higher shareholder returns,” said Orbeta. A solid leadership team that is respected by its workforce is vital to a company's continued success – especially in the dynamic Asia-Pacific economy.”

Of all the topics studied, compensation and benefits received the highest negative response rate (67 percent). Although rates of employee satisfaction with compensation are typically low in employee-focused surveys, these numbers are considerably lower than the averages for respondents in North America and Europe in other studies. When asked to rate their total compensation package, only 22 percent of Asia-Pacific respondents gave a favorable response. Fifty-two percent said a better compensation package” would be their primary reason for seeking a new job.

Other key findings include:

- Employees in companies that communicate well about HR programs are, on average, three times more satisfied with these programs than are employees in companies that do not communicate well.

- Japan and South Korea were the only two countries where a majority of participants did not give positive responses to questions concerning workload, with only 42 percent and 46 percent of workers, respectively, feeling that the amount of work they are asked to complete is reasonable.

For a copy of the WorkAsia 2004-2005 report,

About WorkAsia™
The first Watson Wyatt Worldwide WorkAsia study examines the responses of approximately 115,000 participants from 515 leading companies that span a wide range of industries and 11 markets within the Asia-Pacific region. These include Australia, China (mainland), India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The report presents snapshots” of the attitudes of Asian employees using three different indices – Commitment, Alignment and Enablement – which are linked to high returns to shareholders. Seen together, these snapshots” form one of the clearest pictures ever presented of workers' attitudes in Asia.

WorkAsia research is conducted by Watson Wyatt's Organization Measurement service line and Asia-Pacific Research and Information Centre (ARIC). The first such dedicated centre of its kind in the region, ARIC complements prominent research efforts by other Watson Wyatt research centres in the USA, Canada and Europe. It serves as Asia-Pacific's focal point for human capital, benefits, investment and financial services research. It is also supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Issued by Watson Wyatt Singapore Pte Ltd., November 16, 2004. For more information, please contact - GAI

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