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Employers in Asia are planning pay hikes this year. Here's where the biggest boosts will be

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When it comes to negotiating a pay rise, it's not unusual to find yourself faced with an uphill battle with your boss.

But the tables could be turning in Asia as employers wise up to the increasing strength of the jobs market, a new report has found.

According to the 2018 Asia Salary Guide by global recruitment specialists Hays, a greater proportion of employers intend to boost pay — and by a greater degree — this year compared with 2017.

Of the 3,000 organizations surveyed for the annual report, 94 percent of employers across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore said they plan to push up salaries in 2018, an uptick of 3 percent from 12 months ago.

Bosses also claimed they would be more inclined to give bigger raises this year, with an additional 3 percent pledging pay hikes of 6 to 10 percent.

Here's how the intended salary hikes break down across the five countries:

Chinese employers emerged among the most giving, outlining their intentions to raise more than half (51 percent) of their staff's salaries by anywhere from 6 to more than 10 percent.

Interestingly, though, it is in Malaysia that the greatest proportion of staff — 97 percent — can expect a pay rise this year. Buoyed by the country's growing economy, Malaysian business heads are set to boost salaries most at the top end this year, with 13 percent pledging raises of more than 10 percent.

At the other end, employers in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore said they are more likely to opt for salary increases of 6 percent and below. Japanese bosses are the most likely to avoid giving out pay rises entirely this year.

Salary is typically cited as one of the most common reasons for leaving an employer. According to Hays' 2018 Asia Salary Guide, which also surveyed employees across 3,000 companies in Asia, 38 percent of staff said they are currently looking for a new job and 42 percent said they are open to new opportunities. Of those currently looking, 61 percent cited salary and benefits as their key motivators.

Among the most common reasons for staying with an employer were work-life balance, salary, and job security.

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