The gap in pay between top executives and their staff has grown in nine Asia Pacific countries since last year.

Senior base salaries now exceed those in the US in some locations but junior salaries are not keeping pace, according to a new study by Willis Towers Watson.

The widest gap is in Indonesia, where senior management makes 15.8 times more than professional-level staff. The average salary for a top-level manager is US$190,000, compared to a professional-level employee on US$12,000.

“Income gap is something that both governments and institutions like the World Economic Forum (WEF) look to address, to ensure that ordinary people on the street can tangibly benefit from economic growth,” said Sambhav Rakyan, data services practice leader, Asia Pacific at Willis Towers Watson.

The difference in Indonesia was 11.8 times greater in 2014 and 12 times in 2015, meaning there has been a huge leap this year. Salary gaps also increased in China (10:1), Hong Kong (7.5:1) and Singapore (6.5:1).

Although the gap in China widened between 2015 and 2016, base salaries for senior management and professional-level staff grew at similar speeds, by 18 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum published its Global Risks Report 2017, which ranked rising income disparity as the most serious of five key risks that will shape the world in the next decade.

Salaries are up in Singapore and Malaysia but at a slightly slower rate compared to this time last year. In Hong Kong, however, salaries were not expected to rise significantly because of a slowdown in China’s economy.

The nine APAC countries in which the salary gap grew were: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.

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