Survey Shows Mismatch Between Employer and Employee Expectations

According to the Towers Watson Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, 79% of employers in Asia Pacific said they have problems attracting critical-skill employees, while 73% of employers have difficulty attracting high-potential employees. The survey also found that there is a gap between what employers are offering and what employees are looking for.

Commenting on the findings, Dhritiman Chakrabarti, Asia Pacific Leader of Rewards at Towers Watson, said, “The demand for key talent is as strong as ever, in spite of challenging economic conditions and heightened global competition. We find that many employers are not taking advantage of opportunities to attract, retain and engage key talent by offering a value proposition, work environment and the total rewards programs that are most important to them.”

In fact, there appears to be a mismatch between what employers are offering and what employees are looking for. According to the survey, employees in Asia Pacific are more focused on competitive base pay, job security and convenient work location. Employers, on the other hand, are emphasising other items, such as career advancement, challenging work, and the organisation’s mission, vision and values.

When it comes to retaining talent, employers seem to have a better understanding, and are more aligned with the employee views, with the top three drivers being base pay, career advancement opportunities and relationship with their supervisors/managers. However, employers underestimate the impact of trust and confidence in senior leadership in retaining employees.

In today’s volatile global economy, where organisations face intense pressure to rein in cost while driving performance, it is not surprising that organisations are expecting higher levels of performance from their employees. However, the survey revealed that rewards have not kept pace with higher performance expectations – with 96% of employers indicating that individual performance expectations have increased and / or stayed the same but bonus levels – as a percentage of on-target – is at 79% for the most recently completed fiscal year (2011) and is projected to drop to 76% for the current fiscal year.

The study also found that employees continue to experience high levels of stress at work. Close to half (45%) of Asia Pacific respondents indicate that employees often experience excessive pressure in their job.

“Employers are essentially aspiring for higher levels of performance while at the same time depleting the fuel that powers the engine of the organisation. Asking employees to continue in this mode is unsustainable for individual employees as well as the organisation itself. We are already seeing significant gaps in enabling and energising of employees – both of which sustain engagement,” said Dhritiman. “Our recent Global Workforce Study revealed that only 39% of employees in Asia Pacific are highly engaged at work. This signals a critical tipping point and employers need to take concrete steps and strike the right balance between employee preferences and employee needs, and in crafting an employee value proposition that helps to attract and retain talented and critical-skill employees while also engaging the broader workforce,” Dhritiman added.

The survey was conducted between April and June 2012, and includes responses from 1,605 companies worldwide, including 796 from Asia Pacific.

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