Taiwan faces brain drain as wage growth slows: report (Taiwan News)

Taipei, Aug. 9 (CNA) Tired of slow wage growth and long work hours, an increasing number of white-collar office workers are packing their bags and leaving Taiwan for job opportunities abroad, a Ministry of Audit report has found, raising renewed concerns of a brain drain. The Ministry of Audit said in a report on the central government’s final 2014 accounts that while Taiwan’s economic growth hit its target last year, the country’s labor market could face future shortages due to low wages and a decreasing number of high-end professionals. The ministry said in the report that an average of 20,000 to 30,000 mostly white-collar office workers have left Taiwan every year over the past decade for job opportunities abroad while the number of foreign professionals in Taiwan has remained almost unchanged. Stagnant wage growth also continues to be a serious problem, the report said. Citing data compiled by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the ministry said Taiwan’s wage growth in 2014 lagged behind inflation, leading to a drop in real wages. In addition, 70 percent of Taiwanese employees earned monthly wages of under NT$40,000 (US$1,264) in 2014 and 40 percent earned less than NT$30,000 per month, reflecting a low-wage trend that has spread across the country, the ministry said. In terms of employees whose wages were flat or declined last year, roughly 60 percent had annual salaries of less than NT$550,000 and 30 percent were low-income workers, earning less than NT$250,000 a year, it said. The ministry suggested that the government monitor human resource flows and continue to implement initiatives to attract and retain outstanding workers in order to stave off a possible shortage of professionals and improve national competitiveness. (By Lu Hsin-hui and Jeffrey Wu)