Asia Pacific Sees Improvements in Number of 'Highly Engaged' Employees

Asia Pacific witnessed changes in employee engagement in 2013. In particular, the region saw improvements in the number of “highly engaged” employees, which increased by 5% to 21%, and in the engagement levels of Millennials, which rose by 5% in 2013 compared with 2012.

Aon Hewitt's "2014 Trends in Asia Pacific Employee Engagement Report," reveals that Asia Pacific employee engagement in 2013 was higher than before the financial crisis.

Rising from 58% in 2012 to 61% in 2013, Asia Pacific’s average engagement score rose to 61% in 2013 from 58% in 2012, a bigger increase than was seen in the global engagement score, which rose to 61% in 2013 from 60% in 2012.

In 2013, Asia Pacific shares the same engagement score of 61% as the global average. Of the 12 countries represented in this report, nine saw improvements in employee engagement levels in 2013, two saw scores decline, and one remained the same.

Compared to the global average, Asia Pacific employees are more willing to advocate for their employers, but less willing to stay in the organization. In 2013, Asia Pacific reported increases in all Say, Stay and Strive scores.

Most significantly, Stay scores increased by six points to 69%, showing that more employees are saying good things about their employers. Despite an increase since 2012, the Stay score of 55% remained the lowest of the three, reflecting that just under half of employees in Asia Pacific are willing to stay with their organizations.

Almost two-thirds of all employees in Asia Pacific are engaged; 24% are passively engaged and present a great opportunity for employers to improve their engagement levels.

The engagement distribution in Asia Pacific shares an identical pattern with global employee engagement distributions. Twenty-one percent of employees are highly engaged, leaving a large potential for employers to improve engagement, as 64% of employees in Asia Pacific are either moderately or passively engaged.

With the right management and work conditions, these employees could become highly engaged.

The overall work experience in Asia Pacific is improving. Globally, overall work experience improved by 4%, while Asia Pacific showed an increase of 6%. The areas that have improved the most are employer brand and foundational elements (i.e., safety, resources).

However, perception of leadership and company practices has dropped. This may be because Asia Pacific employees are becoming more sophisticated and therefore more discerning about business and strategic imperatives.

Career Opportunities and Pay remain the top two engagement drivers in Asia Pacific. Career Opportunities were the number one driver both globally and in Asia Pacific in 2013 (Career Opportunities ranked as the top engagement driver in nine out of 12 countries).

Pay has a particularly higher ranking in Asia Pacific compared to the rest of the world, and is valued notably in China, South Korea, and Thailand.

Looking ahead, employers should focus on ways to sustain growth and avoid volatility in employee engagement levels, especially in fast-growing economies such as China, Indonesia, Thailand and India.

Investing wisely in engagement-improvement initiatives is the key for business and HR leaders, says the Aon. 

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