Strong economic growth and an accompanying demand for top talent are driving up the base salaries of top executives in Asia, the Asia Pacific (APAC) section of Willis Towers Watson's 2016/2017 Global 50 Remuneration Planning Report indicates.

Evidence of this growth was particularly noticeable in Hong Kong and Singapore where total guaranteed cash (base salaries plus total fixed allowances) last year was more than 25% higher than the average US$233,000 earned in the U.S. In 2016, for every US$100 that top management in the U.S. earned in base salary, their peers in Singapore and Hong Kong made US$132 and US$128, respectively.

On the same basis, top management in China (US$98), Thailand (US$87), Indonesia (US$82) and South Korea (US$82) also earned similar total guaranteed cash to their counterparts in the U.S. However, it's worth noting that many top executives in the U.S. receive short- and/or long-term incentives, so their overall compensation is normally higher than their peers in Asia.

Compensation for top talent may be more expensive, but the region remains an attractive destination for companies because of the much lower salaries and the availability of skilled workers. For instance, China has a large pool of workers with strong manufacturing skills.


Willis Towers Watson Media

Sambhav Rakyan

Willis Towers Watson

Sambhav Rakyan is Asia Pacific’s practice leader for Willis Towers Watson’s Global Data Services division. Email or