Wages in Asia and the Pacific and the Arab States

This brief provides an overview of trends, recent policy developments and recommendations with regards to wages in Asia and the Pacific and the Arab States.

Over the past decade, wage growth in Asia and the Pacific has outperformed most of the world. Wage employment has also grown. For the region’s 858 million wage workers and their families, dynamic growth brings higher income and better living standards. At the same time, rising inequality remains a concern; the benefits of growth have not been shared as widely and fairly as they might have been.
If countries want to promote shared prosperity with rising incomes for all, and to build inclusive societies, then there is a need to address distributional issues, aiming to ensure that a fair share of the gains of growth reaches all workers. This in turn can boost domestic demand, and support stronger, more balanced, and more inclusive growth – key ingredients of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sound wage-setting institutions can make important contributions to both economic success and equitable society. To this end, concerted efforts are needed to strengthen minimum wage-setting institutions and collective bargaining mechanisms. Such measures are crucial in advancing the sustainable development agenda and achieving SDG Goal 8 (“promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth”) and Goal 10 (“reduce inequalities”).