Like the rest of the world, the Far East is experiencing some fallout from the global credit crunch.
However, while there is nervousness and a need for caution in the financial hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, there is strong belief Asia will be somewhat cushioned from the blows being felt in the Northern Hemisphere.
With investment bank collapses and widespread potential job losses, coupled with the risk of inflation, nervousness is understandably at its most intense among the banking sector in Singapore and Hong Kong, where a good proportion of both countries' expatriates and internationally minded professionals are employed.
While the reality for the worst-case scenario is that job losses may occur, whatever the outcome, top employers in the Far East are becoming aware of the need to reassess their benefits packages to attract and retain quality staff.
ZIL's twice-yearly Wealth Monitor, a probe into the financial and lifestyle habits of high-earning, internationally mobile professionals, identified the growing need for better employee benefits packages to be offered by top employers if they are to compete on the global stage.
The research, which surveyed individuals in Hong Kong, Singapore and the Middle East, highlighted that employers in Singapore and Hong Kong should not be complacent - particularly given current market conditions when quality staff are worth retaining and fewer are necessarily looking to 'jump ship'.
The research revealed a staggering 82% of Hong Kong Chinese don't believe benefits offered by their employer are enough to attract talented would-be employees. It revealed while a large proportion said the benefits offered by their employer are 'adequate', Hong Kong employees are now very much basing their employment decisions on the benefits packages provided.
More than a third of those surveyed (37%) have made an employment decision based on the benefits packages offered to them.
Hong Kong is fortunate enough to be able to have relied on its low tax rate as a means of securing overseas talent, and more than half of respondents in the latest Wealth Monitor (52%) said Hong Kong's low tax rate is enough to lure overseas talent. But increasingly, organisations are realising this isn't the case and are having to offer benefits likely to appeal to top local talent.
While for some time it was Generation X who had been bucking the trend and questioning what their employer could do for them, rather than necessarily what they could do for their employer, such a practice is now common among top executives.
With the general consensus being that Hong Kong's Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) does not go far enough to provide for Hong Kong Chinese later in life, additional levels of savings and financial benefits should be offered by employers if they are to be seen as moving with the times. A similar situation exists in Singapore with the Central Provident Fund (CPF).
Given the fact so many top employers are competing for highly skilled and talented employees - not only locally, but internationally - those destined to succeed are realising the need to offer current and prospective employees a benefits package worthy of their abilities.
Whether the confidence being displayed by the Far East is dented remains to be seen, but savvy employers will be moving with the times no matter what the future holds.
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