Although American and Canadian managers and white-collar professionals are slated to receive modest salary hikes next year, their counterparts in Asia will reap sizable gains in real terms. According to a survey by benefits consultant William M. Mercer Companies, U.S. and Canadian companies plan to boost their managers' salaries by an average 4.2% and 2.5%, respectively.

By contrast, planned salary hikes for Asian managers--running from 7.5% in Singapore to 11% in Korea and Thailand, 16% in the Philippines, and 25% in China and India--are all at least double the anticipated inflation rates. Even Japanese managers and professionals are expected to come out ahead, with 3% salary hikes in the face of 1% inflation.

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