Press Release

Salaries in Thailand seen to rise 5.5% in 2018: Willis Towers Watson survey

November 27, 2017
| Thailand

BANGKOK, 27 November 2017 – Salary increase in Thailand are projected to rise 5.5% in 2018, slightly higher than the actual salary increase in 2017 (5.2%), according to Q3 2017 Salary Budget Planning Report released by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company.

When compared with other key markets in Asia Pacific, Thailand salary increase continue to rank around the middle of the group. For pay rises in 2018, India (10%), Sri Lanka (8.6%) and Indonesia (8.5%) will lead the way in the region, while Japan (2.3%) will see the smallest increases (Fig. 1 below).

Figure 1: Comparing Thailand with key markets in the Asia Pacific region

Comparing Thailand with key markets in the Asia Pacific region

2017 Salary Budget Planning Report – Asia Pacific (Q1 Edition)
2017 Salary Budget Planning Report – Asia Pacific (Q3 Edition)

Moving to Thailand salary increase across all sectors over 3 years (2016 -2018), majority of the sectors sharing similar trends. Construction has the smallest rise at 4.0% in 2017 and is projected to continue with the lowest rate of increase at 5.0% in 2018. Life Insurance is showing a decreasing pattern in the year-on-year figures; however it is still forecasted to meet the average increase at 5.5% (Fig. 2 below).

Figure 2: 2016 - 2018 Thailand Salary Increase by Industry

2016 - 2018 Thailand Salary Increase by Industry

Source: 2017 Q3 Willis Towers Watson Salary Budget Planning Report – Asia Pacific

According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2017 General Industry Total Compensation Survey, Thailand’s overall turnover rate in 2017 is 12%, same as previous year and also lower than overall voluntary attrition rate in APAC (15%). Industries experiencing the highest turnover are Electronics Manufacturing (18%) and Life insurance (16%). The lowest turnover are in High Tech (11%) and Asset Management (10%).

The top 3 most frequently stated reasons for employee resignations are better pay, career advancement opportunities and relationship with supervisor/manager. “Companies in Thailand acknowledged these 3 factors well, however it takes time to build fundamental HR programs to improve them,” said Pichpajee Saichuae, Managing Director of Willis Towers Watson Thailand. “Quick win solutions can be implemented to make sure that we differentiate pay, promote the right talent and most importantly, we equip our line managers with HR knowledge and tools to enable them to be good people managers.”

In terms of variable bonuses in 2017, the results differ by industry, ranging widely from 1.8 to 5.5 months of base salary. Electronics Manufacturing and General Insurance have the lowest variable bonus at 1.8 months which are less than the overall industries (2.4 months). Asset Management offers the highest bonus pay-outs with an average of 5.5 months of base salary (Fig. 3 below).

Figure 3: 2017 Thailand Variable Bonus by Industry (No. of Months)

2017 Thailand Variable Bonus by Industry

Source: 2017 Willis Towers Watson HR Policies and Practices Survey – General

“Organization needs to understand that monetary rewards is just one of the components to help the firms attracting and retaining their key talents,” said Tony Kantapasara, Talent & Reward business leader at Willis Towers Watson Thailand. “Understand what drives our employee’s engagement, and create the compelling employee value proposition (EVP) that is tailored to each firm’s talents are no less important.”

Fresh graduates with a bachelor's degree can command starting salaries of THB 15,000 while those with Masters can request for THB 20,500 minimum. Top entry-level salaries for new graduates can be found in Engineering, Information Technology, Legal, Human Resources and Accounting & Finance.

Job functions which are difficult to recruit are Sales and Business Development (46.5%), Information Technology (28.3%) and Marketing (25.3%), respectively. While job functions that organizations have difficulty in retaining employees are Sales and Business Development (52.0%), followed by Customer Service/Technical Support (24.0%), and Information Technology and Engineering (16.0%).

Tony added “In today’s competitive race to attract and retain skilled talents, it is critical for the firms to understand industries’ trends, and getting reflections from the markets of what matters to our workforce to keep our talents in the firm and to maintain our competitive edge, thus attaining a reliable source of data, will help organization make informed decisions around people.”

About the surveys

Willis Towers Watson’s “2017 Salary Budget Planning Report - Asia Pacific (Third Quarter)” was conducted globally in July 2017. Over 4,000 sets of responses were received in Asia Pacific, in which about 132 companies participated in the Thai market.

Willis Towers Watson’s “2017 General Industry Total Compensation Survey” was conducted in June 2017. It covers 245 companies representing various industries in Thailand. The survey aims to help companies validate their salary competitiveness, support their recruitment initiatives and make informed decisions about total reward programs for their employees.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at