NNA survey: Japanese firms in SE Asia to offer smaller pay hikes this year

26, Jan. 2019


TOKYO, NNA – Japanese firms in Southeast Asia are likely to offer flat to smaller pay hikes this year as the U.S.-China trade row keeps the outlook for global growth uncertain, an NNA survey shows.

Averaged base-wage hikes are expected to be lower than last year in five of the region’s seven economies covered in the poll, with the pace of increase in Myanmar seen decelerating sharply to 7.4 percent from 12 percent awarded in 2018.

The survey, which was conducted last year, covered the pay scales for factory workers to top managers at 1,260 Japanese affiliates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Base wages will rise at a slower pace in Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

In Thailand, the largest production hub for Japanese companies in the region, they will see a 4.1 percent increase on average in 2019, down from 4.3 percent actual in 2018, according to the survey.

Planned wage hikes will remain flat in Indonesia and Singapore.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund slightly revised down its economic growth outlook for five countries in Southeast Asia to 5.1 percent in 2019 from 5.0 percent projected in its October forecast. The five are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The IMF left its 2018 GDP growth estimate for the region unchanged at 5.2 percent.