Asian employers blasé about gender pay gap

Removing the glass ceiling remains a low priority for companies in Asia

Asian employers blasé about gender pay gap

Women are still paid significantly less than men on average in Asia, according to a survey by Willis Tower Watson.

And this may not change anytime soon – only one in 10 of employers believe that addressing gender pay equality will become a more important factor in making base pay decisions over the next three years. This varies significantly from companies in Europe (39%) and North America (41%).

In addition, only 36% of Asia Pacific employers responded that they have or are intending to conduct a gender pay or pay equity diagnostic. This compares to almost 60% globally.

“Companies must be aware of the increasing potential for legal or reputational costs due to maintaining even unintentionally discriminatory pay policies and practices,” said Maggy Fang, Head of Talent & Rewards, Asia Pacific, Willis Towers Watson.

“All employers should conduct a thorough pay equity review to help them understand whether they have fair pay or gender gap issues, where gaps may exist and their underlying causes, and to make fair pay an integral element in their organization’s compensation programs.”

Fair pay is an essential element of an effective compensation program and an integral part of the employee experience. The study found that a majority of Asia Pacific employers give themselves high marks when it comes to having formal processes in place to prevent bias or inconsistency in their hiring and pay decisions.

About three quarters of respondents have established formal processes across a range of areas, including performance review (77%), hiring decisions (76%), starting salaries (74%) and base pay increases (74%).

Despite that, only one in five organizations (22%) in this region have formally structured and managed Diversity & inclusion (D&I) programs targeted at diverse employee populations.

Japan, Australia and India are leading the region in this aspect, while the Greater China market is lagging behind.

“The major factor affecting the pay gap between men and women is that there are fewer women taking senior roles in organizations,” Fang said.

“We observe that women represent less than a quarter of the top management roles within many organizations and the biggest disparities are observed in India, Japan and South Korea."


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