Tue, Nov 30, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Performance-based pay on the rise

LABOR MARKET The pay-for-performance system that originated in the tech industry has spread to other sectors and is lowering overall base pay, a report says

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

The concept of pay-for-performance is taking hold in the local job market and will gradually drive down base pay in various industries, according to a report released by a job tracking magazine yesterday.

The report, released by Cheers Magazine (快樂工作人雜誌), combined data collected from 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行), Get Management Consultants (咨鼎管理顧問) and US-based human capital consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide on salary levels in 48 businesses in Taiwan.

The report found that base pay offered by employers this year dropped by 2.8 percent on average from a year ago. In the meantime, companies have increased the proportion of variable pay, normally called bonuses, for employees based on various conditions, such as performance and experience, the report said.

"People need to work harder to get better wages now, no matter what field they are in," said Fion Lu (盧智芳), managing editor of Cheers, who was in charge of the project. "There are no golden tickets in the market anymore."

The pay-for-performance system, which started in the high-tech industry with employee stock options or stock bonuses, is now expanding to other sectors.

For example, salaries among professors can vary widely, Lu said. One university in Taoyuan adds a yearly bonus of NT$240,000 to professors whose research is published in the Science Citation Index or Social Science Citation Index.

The measure has also been adopted in the banking industry, a sector that commonly provides better salaries and benefits, Lu said. One example is Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行), which places high importance on performance in its sales department, Lu said.

The base pay for Chinatrust's personal banking salespeople is about NT$35,000 to NT$50,000 per month, however, the top salesperson could receive a bonus of up to 40 times their monthly salary.

Dorothy Tao (陶尊芷), senior vice president of HSBC Taiwan's human resources department, said the trend will become more obvious in Taiwan over time, as the market is snapping up diligent workers to boost overall competitiveness.

"Instilling this concept in employees and introducing a fair and effective evaluation system are the two major tasks for companies now," Tao said.

The report further revealed base salary rankings for the year among different sectors.

The highest pay went to management information systems and software companies, which offer NT$40,168 per month, followed by construction firms at NT$37,732 and computer system companies with NT$35,591. The dark horse was the construction sector, which has been considered a sunset industry for over 10 years. It rebounded in line with the property market, the report said.

The service sector, though expanding quickly, was at the bottom of the rankings due to low academic and experience requirements. Retail stores and department stores, for example, only offer NT$27,665 per month, while restaurants offer NT$25,667 per month, the lowest in the employment market.

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