Survey of almost 18,000 workers across Asia Pacific indicates the Great Resignation is set to continue

Time for employers to rethink, adapt and evolve

Nearly 18,000 Asia Pacific-based employees participated in PwC’s “Asia Pacific Workforce Hopes & Fears Survey 2022: Time for a rethink?”. Only 57% of employees across the region are satisfied with their job. In the next 12 months, around one-third of employees surveyed plan to ask for a raise and the same proportion say they are likely to ask for a promotion. One in five intend to switch to a new employer. These results should be a wake-up call for companies across the region, many of whom have already been grappling with a skill and talent shortage for years. 

Raymund Chao, PwC Asia Pacific and China Chairman, commented, “People play a significant part in shaping the long-term strategic success of businesses. As the world continues to be disrupted, employees across Asia Pacific are rethinking their lifestyle, and work is topping the list. The dynamics of the workforce is changing at a rate not seen before, with demand for different ways of working continuing to evolve. To address skills shortages, businesses need to invest in upskilling their people for the longer term that are mutually beneficial. Employees are also looking to their employers for more support in ethical decision making and minimising their impact on the environment. By bringing the best of people and technology together, we can continue to build trust and deliver sustained outcomes.”

Money matters, but so does meaning.

With employees more empowered than ever, simply offering more pay is not the answer. In the current tight labour market, some sectors are offering hiring premiums of 20-40%. This is not sustainable. 68% of workers want to be rewarded fairly, but they also value other things. 64% want work that provides a sense of fulfilment and meaning, and 62% want to be able to bring their authentic selves to work. These priorities are the same regardless of whether employees work remotely, hybrid or always in-person.

When it comes to retaining talent, our survey shows that there is room for significant improvement for Asia Pacific-based organisations:

  • Only 36% of employees surveyed say their employer supports workers with their physical and mental well-being.
  • 66% of employees surveyed feel they lack support for ethical decision making.
  • 73% of employees surveyed feel they lack support for minimising their company’s impact on the environment. 

Upskilling needs to be mutually beneficial 

According to our survey, less than half (45%) of employers are upskilling their workers. Too often, companies see upskilling as a short-term fix for plugging immediate skills gaps rather than a way to develop a strategically competitive workforce. One-third say that their territory lacks people with the skills to do their job. Leaders need to think about upskilling in a more holistic way. This means considering the needs of both employees and the company over the longer term, as well as the changes in the wider market. 

Norah Seddon, People & Organisation Leader, PwC Asia Pacific and Australia, commented, “While all stakeholders are important, the voices of employees are particularly critical. A company cannot be truly successful over the long term if its core purpose is not aligned with the values of the people that work for it. An organisation’s stance is becoming increasingly important for attracting and retaining top talent. People are voting with their heads and hearts, and ultimately, their feet.”

Hybrid work is here to stay

Our survey has revealed that hybrid work is here to stay. 68% of Asia Pacific respondents think their employer will expect hybrid working in the next 12 months, and this is the preference for around the same proportion of employees. Across the region, only 10% of workers would prefer to work in person 12 months from now.

Although the majority of employees prefer hybrid work, companies need to be careful not to overlook those who work completely remotely or completely in person. The 38% of workers who can’t work remotely are less likely to find their job fulfilling. At the other end of the scale, employees who work completely remotely are twice as concerned about being passed over for a promotion and are more likely to change jobs.

Chanchai Chaiprasit, CEO for PwC Thailand, added that supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is among the top agendas that Thai employees demand their employer’s support. Indeed, 43% of those surveyed want their employers to accept differing opinions to create a work environment where everyone collaborates effectively. 

According to the report, which also surveyed 1,000 Thai employees, 73% expect their employers to deploy a hybrid working model in the next 12 months, and only 4% prefer in-person work at the office. 

“Many organisations are gradually calling their employees back to the office as the COVID-19 situation begins to subside,” Chanchai said.

“But business leaders must also consider which working model suits their business and employees’ preferences in shaping their jobs. Today we must accept that employees want and expect their employers to implement workplace flexibility in the office due to the new normal that changes how we work. Without flexibility, it will cause employees to challenge the organisation’s policies and eventually lead to talent leaving the company, making this a sensitive issue,” he said.

Chanchai concluded that no matter which workplace model an organisation chooses, employees must be involved in sharing their opinions before implementing new company policies. To further facilitate the new normal of work from anywhere, investment in new technologies will remain critical for organisations in the future.

Source: PwC Thailand