Tag: Compensation Surveys

A discourse is taking center stage in human resources (HR): equity. More than just a buzzword, ensuring equity in the workplace is now a concern across organizations, sparking conversations between HR professionals and business leaders.

But equity is more than just fairness. Equity ensures every employee has equal access to opportunities, resources, and fair treatment. In an era where diversity and inclusion have become the core of corporate values, equity is impossible to ignore. Integrating equity into your organization’s HR strategies is crucial to cultivating employee satisfaction and success.

Additionally, it’s important to distinguish between equity and equality. While equality involves providing the same resources to everyone, equity acknowledges that individual circumstances vary and, as such, an organization should offer the necessary resources to achieve equal outcomes.

As organizations navigate an increasingly diverse and dynamic landscape, establishing a fair HR strategy goes beyond ethics and compliance.

This blog post will explore the hot topic of equity, its role in HR practices, and how HR can foster an environment where equity is a reality. Drawing from industry insights and proven systems, the blog article will help guide you toward cultivating a fairer and more equitable workplace.

What is equity?

As an HR professional, you have probably heard the term “equity” thrown around in your workplace. But what does it mean?

Equity is the fair treatment of access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals. While the term is often associated with pay, equity acknowledges that every staff member has unique needs and circumstances.

Ensuring equity involves customizing resources and opportunities so that everyone has an equal chance of success. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, this includes “identifying and working to eliminate barriers to fair treatment for disadvantaged groups, from the team level through systemic changes in organizations and industries.” For example, providing added training to employees who lack specific skills can be an example of equity.

You might wonder why equity is significant and how it affects your organization. The truth is that equity is the backbone of any successful HR management strategy. Without it, your organization could face many challenges, including high turnover rates, low employee morale, and even legal issues.

How vital is equity in HR?

Equity in HR is more than a matter of ethics or compliance. It’s a strategic necessity. Employees who feel treated fairly are more likely to be engaged and productive. They are more likely to stay with your organization and contribute to its success.

A lack of equity, on the other hand, can lead to a toxic work culture. Employees who feel they are not treated fairly are more likely to be disengaged and unproductive. They are likelier to leave your organization, leading to high turnover rates and recruitment costs. Moreover, a lack of equity can also expose your organization to legal risks, as it could potentially violate anti-discrimination laws.

Another reason ensuring equity is vital in HR is that it helps attract and keep top talent. Job seekers are not just looking for a paycheck. They are looking for a workplace that values diversity and inclusion and treats all employees fairly. By ensuring equity, you can make your organization a more attractive place to work.

Ensuring equity in the organization is vital as the workplace constantly evolves. How can organizations support equity when their staff is dispersed across various locations, both locally and internationally? How do they ensure equal opportunities when most staff opt for remote work instead of coming to the office?

HR plays a crucial role in implementing policies and practices that promote fair treatment and challenge systemic bias. They must create an environment where every employee has a chance to succeed regardless of their background.

How do I build Equity into our HR strategy?

Building equity into your HR strategy may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some steps you can take to ensure equity in your organization:

Assess your current situation. Are there any areas where some employees are treated less favorably than others? Are there any policies or practices that could potentially discriminate against certain groups of employees? Thoroughly auditing your HR processes can help. Collect and analyze relevant data to identify any equity issues. Once you have identified these concerns, take action to address them.

Develop a clear policy on equity. Should individuals in the same job receive similar pay rates, regardless of their location in vastly different markets? Alternatively, should compensation be determined based on what the organization considers fair and competitive within the specific market where the employee is situated? Your policy should clearly articulate your organization’s dedication to equitable treatment for all employees, set up parameters for addressing and rectifying potential equity concerns, and emphasize the significance of communicating this policy to all employees while offering training in equity and diversity.

Implement fair HR practices. Promoting equity requires an integrated approach where every individual feels valued and heard. This involves creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and employees are given equal access to opportunities through unbiased recruitment processes, proper compensation structures, and inclusive workplace policies. Remember, the goal is not just to treat everyone the same but to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

Communicate your targets and share your progress. Set clear, measurable goals for equity, and track your progress towards these goals. Be transparent about your progress and any challenges you are facing. Most importantly, set up transparent communication channels that allow for open dialogue about organizational decisions, fostering trust and empowerment among staff members.

Promote the importance of equity. Make sure that your organization’s leaders and staff are aware of the benefits of equity and why it is essential to success. Remember that equity is an ongoing commitment that requires continuous monitoring and improvement. By promoting an environment of fairness and respect, you can ensure that your people can thrive and contribute meaningfully to fulfilling the organization’s mission.

How Birches Group can help you ensure workplace equity

At Birches Group, we understand the importance of equity in HR. That’s why we’ve developed Community SkillsTM, a platform and tool that can help you ensure equity in your organization.

Community SkillsTM is designed to help assess your people’s skills and knowledge growth. It allows you to create a skills profile for each employee, which can aid in finding skills gaps and developing learning & development plans.

In addition, the platform offers benchmarks for various roles and functions to better ensure fair compensation for all employees. By using Community SkillsTM, you can ensure that all your employees are given an equal opportunity to grow and succeed.

Equity is a crucial factor in building a successful HR management strategy. It’s not just about treating everyone the same, but about giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. By understanding equity, recognizing its importance, and integrating it into your HR practices, you can create a workplace that is fair, inclusive, and conducive to success.

Contact Birches Group today to learn about our Community SkillsTM platform and request a demo.

Carla is a part-time copywriter in our marketing team in Manila. Before shifting to freelance writing in 2020, she worked as a marketing and communications specialist at the offices of EY and Grant Thornton. She has written about HR and career development for Kalibrr. 

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Birches Group keeps an eye on labor market trends that are grabbing headlines across the globe, ensuring you stay up to date with the latest events.

A massacre in southern Israel appears to be a turning point in the simmering confrontation between Hamas and Israel, says Newsweek. Tensions between the Palestinian militant group and the Middle Eastern nation periodically ignited short-lived, intense conflicts—until recently.

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, launched an unprecedented attack inside Israel in the early morning of October 7, 2023, during a major Jewish holiday.

According to Al Jazeera, Associated Press, and other news agencies, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel with sirens heard as far away as Tel Aviv. Backed by rockets, hundreds of Hamas gunmen infiltrated Israel’s heavily fortified border and rampaged nearby towns. Over 1,300 people have been killed in the multi-pronged assault, and at least 150 soldiers and civilians, including foreign nationals, have been abducted and held in the Gaza Strip as hostages.

The BBC’s International Editor says it was the most ambitious operation Hamas has ever launched from Gaza and the most serious cross-border attack Israel has faced in over a generation.

On the day of the attack, Israel declared a state of war and approved “significant military steps” in response. According to Time, the goal of Israel’s military operation is to “achieve the destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas.” As Israel launches multiple airstrikes on Gaza and mobilizes its army for a ground invasion, the world’s eyes are focused on what might come next.

Israel retaliates

As a result of the October 7, 2023, surprise attack, Israel has responded with multiple devastating strategies:

Launched a series of airstrikes. When Hamas fires rockets at Israel, warning detectors are set off, civilians flee to a network of bomb shelters, and the Iron Dome system intercepts projectiles in the air. CNN says that, in Gaza, none of those high-tech defenses are available.

The Israeli military had dropped thousands of bombs on Gaza as Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel. The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the bombardment of Gaza has destroyed entire neighborhoods, leaving over 20% of the population displaced.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using white phosphorus, a controversial munition, in its bombings. Sometimes used to mark areas, the highly combustible chemical can severely burn people.

Imposed a total blockade of Gaza. The Gaza Strip has been almost completely cut off from the world for nearly 17 years. Israel and Egypt have imposed a land, air, and sea blockade since Hamas took over the Palestinian territory. The movement of goods is tightly restricted. On October 9, 2023, Israel imposed a “complete siege” of Gaza, cutting access to electricity, food, water, medicines, and fuel until the hostages are returned home. Since then, the enclave of 2.3 million people has been incapable of receiving humanitarian aid.

Ordered a mass evacuation of northern Gaza. The Gaza Strip has one of the world’s highest population densities. Additionally, over 75% of its people are registered refugees. On October 13, 2023, Israel’s army ordered civilians in Gaza City and the north of the Gaza Strip—an estimated 1.1 million people—to evacuate their homes and flee to the south within 24 hours. The UN says the task is dangerous and unfeasible amid constant airstrikes.

The situation leaves civilians in Gaza with no way of escaping the conflict. Two of the three crossings out of the Palestinian territory are shut, and its southern border with Egypt is routinely closed.

Called for troops for a ground offensive. In the first few days of the conflict, Israel has conducted small-scale operations against Hamas fighters to regain control of infiltrated communities.

Although Israeli officials have yet to order a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza as of this writing, they have been planning for it. Numerous news outlets report Israel has amassed over 160,000 soldiers and 360,000 reservists, the biggest call in 50 years. Vast numbers of troops have already assembled on the Israel-Gaza border, along with weaponry, tanks, and armored vehicles.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas is expected to intensify in the coming weeks, and the escalating conflict has heightened fears of a long and brutal war.

The impact of the escalating conflict

The BBC reports that survivors in both Gaza and Israel describe the scale of devastation as “something they have never experienced in the decades of conflict between both sides.” Beyond the immediate toll of death and injury, the Israel-Hamas war has disrupted every facet of daily life, especially for people in the Gaza Strip.

Displaced population. The UN humanitarian office says the bombardment of Gaza has damaged more than 12,000 homes. As airstrikes and shelling continue, more people flee and seek emergency shelter. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees adds that at least 400,000 people have been displaced in schools, hospitals, and other buildings.

Additionally, parts of southern Gaza are becoming more crowded and overstretched as waves of evacuating residents from the north abandon their homes.

Rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. The UN human rights chief said Israel’s announcement of a complete siege worsens the already dire situation in the Gaza Strip. “There is not one drop of water, not one grain of wheat, not a liter of fuel that has been allowed into the Gaza Strip for the last eight days,” remarked Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWAS), on the situation.

Even before the violence escalated, 80% of Gaza’s population needed aid. In addition, the UNRWA told Al Jazeera that it has less than two weeks’ supply of food and water to assist people who have sought refuge in its schools.

As a result, the UN and relief groups are pleading for opening an emergency corridor, allowing the safe passage of civilians and the transfer of much-needed humanitarian aid. CNN reports that tons of vital supplies for people in Gaza are now piling up on the Egyptian side of the border.

The Guardian notes that Gaza’s inhabitants, battered by four wars over 16 years, will pay the heaviest price.

The global response

The international community, spearheaded by the UN, has expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of conflict. UN officials have called for an immediate ceasefire, respect for international law, and the protection of civilians. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned for the civilian population and urges maximum restraint.”

A turning point

Observers anticipate a major ground assault on Gaza. Israel’s military says it is preparing for the “next stages of the war” against Hamas, with troops gearing up for strikes from the air, sea, and land, as well as a significant ground operation.

Although it is too early to know how long Israel’s military response will last, experts have told Time that it will last into the weeks and months ahead.

Analysts say the brazen attack by Hamas is a turning point in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict with far-reaching repercussions. “The October 2023 conflict between Israel and Hamas marks the most significant escalation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades,” says the Council on Foreign Relations.

Establishing a Special Measures Policy is crucial for your organization to maintain business continuity during times of conflict, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict. A Special Measures Policy allows you to adapt your compensation practices to changing circumstances, ensuring sustainability despite the challenges.

We at Birches Group offer expertise in crafting Special Measures policies tailored to your unique needs. Our consultants have deep knowledge and an understanding of crises and unforeseen events, enabling us to provide solutions considering present challenges, risks, and uncertainties.

Don’t wait for conflict to disrupt your operations. Reach out to Birches Group today. Our experts are ready to guide you in developing a clear Special Measures Policy, positioning your organization to withstand volatility and to continue doing business even in the face of conflict. Taking this proactive step can help your organization in the current global climate.

This article was written in mid-October 2023. Please note that the Israel-Hamas War, as discussed in this headline article, is ongoing. The statistics and events discussed are accurate up to the time of writing. However, as this is a dynamic event, there may have been significant changes and developments.


Birches Group keeps an eye on labor market trends that are making headlines across the globe, ensuring you are up to date on the latest developments.

On 14 June 2023, the Nigerian naira lost a staggering 25% of its value compared to the previous day, macroeconomic intelligence provider Focus Economics reported.

The sharp devaluation was caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to allow the naira to fluctuate freely, letting market forces determine the exchange rate. The Central Bank also implemented several reforms, including scrapping the segmentation of its foreign exchange market. For six years, the local exchange rate was held artificially low and changed little.

A welcome, bold start

Following his inauguration on 29 May 2023, President Bola Tinubu hit the ground running with a string of sweeping changes. He noted Nigeria’s monetary policy needed “thorough house cleaning” to help the economy become more competitive. Within his first three weeks in office, Tinubu embarked on some of the most radical reforms in decades:

Petrol subsidy removal. By ending its longstanding petrol subsidy, the Nigerian government is projected to achieve fiscal savings of nearly 4 trillion naira (US$5.10 billion) in 2023. These savings are expected to reach over 11 trillion naira by the end of 2025.

Suspension of Central Bank governor. On 9 June 2023, Tinubu suspended Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele following divisive policies. During Emefiele’s term, a black market for foreign exchange thrived.

Reforms in the foreign exchange market. Foreign investors have flagged Nigeria’s foreign exchange restrictions as an obstacle to investing. The move towards a more unified and market-responsive exchange rate will foster a stable economic environment and prevent the dollarization of the economy.

According to Reuters, Tinubu inherited anemic economic growth, record debt, and shrinking oil output. However, he has promised to put the economy back on track and asked Nigerians to support painful decisions. The speed of his decisions took many by surprise.

Short-term pain vs. long-term stability

Every day Nigerians are feeling the brunt of the government’s economic shakeup. The Guardian reports that, while Tinubu’s policies please foreign investors, the devalued naira means ‘national sacrifice mode.’ People are feeling the strain as their new president pushes through the widely unpopular policies. Living costs have further increased.

The currency devaluation is already pushing prices amid a significantly higher foreign exchange rate, cites Africanews. This change will cause considerable short-term pain but will correct the economy, say economic analysts. Nevertheless, Nigeria continues to face rising inflation and increased poverty rates, pressuring the government to address concerns.

On a positive note, the recent changes are considered a welcome development. The floating exchange rate is expected to strengthen investor sentiment and bring in much-needed capital. Observers have described the transition as a “window of opportunity” that could have a transformative impact on millions of Nigerians.

The steps have fired up markets, sending stocks in Africa’s largest economy to their highest level in 15 years. For its August 2023 Nigeria economic outlook, professional services firm PwC reported that the positive investor sentiment drove up the market capitalization of the stock exchange by 9.3%. “Just the fact that you have seen quite a bit of movement in a relatively short space of time has gotten a lot of people in the market excited,” Goldman Sachs economist Andrew Matheny told Reuters.

In a statement, the World Bank said, “The recent removal of the petrol subsidy and the foreign exchange management reforms are critical steps to address long-standing macroeconomic imbalances and have the potential to establish a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth.” “Deepening and sustaining these changes is imperative to enable Nigeria to break out of the cycle of macroeconomic instability, low investment, sluggish economic growth, escalating poverty, and fragility.”

The World Bank expects growth in Nigeria to increase: “While inflation will be higher in 2023, it will be lower in 2024 to 2025 if the right policy mix is sustained.” The creditworthiness and investment profile of the country is also expected to improve.

Bismark Rewane, Chief Executive Officer at Financial Derivatives Company, a Lagos economic think tank, told Reuters, “What we are seeing is the removal of distortions created by inefficient pricing of foreign exchange and in the next few weeks we should start seeing the naira finding its level.” Business Insider Africa says that market participants and stakeholders are closely watching the effects of these significant changes.

What our Market Monitor indicates

In early July 2023, Nigeria entered our list of potentially volatile labor markets at Level Four (of six levels). Level Four shows signs of a sudden, unexpected economic event, as well as a devaluation of the local currency by at least 50% in six months or less. According to the 15 August 2023 edition of our Market Monitor report, the naira dropped as much as 67% in the past six months.

Although this significant devaluation could classify Nigeria at a higher volatility level, our latest salary survey reports that most organizations still denominate salaries in the naira, keeping Nigeria at Level Four for the time being.

Organizations in Nigeria should remain vigilant and closely watch the ever-evolving economic landscape. Staying attuned to shifts in labor market trends, exchange rates, and government policies is imperative to make informed decisions. By being keenly aware of these factors, you can adapt strategies and ensure the sustainability of your business in Africa’s most populous nation.

How Birches Group can help

Get insights into what to consider when your organization develops special policies in response to volatility. Published in English, Spanish, and French every two weeks, our Market Monitor report examines the labor market conditions of over 150 countries for signs of potential volatility.

Subscribe to our biweekly Market Monitor today. Download the 1 and 15 July 2023 editions of our report, where we focus on how you can manage the situation in Nigeria.


Birches Group examines labor market developments garnering significant attention, keeping you well-informed and abreast of the latest news.

The scenario many have long feared in Sudan is unfolding. In cities and towns across the northeast African country, including the capital Khartoum, intense fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has entered its third month.

On 15 April 2023, armed clashes erupted in Khartoum between two main factions of the ruling military regime: the SAF aligned with de facto leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary RSF led by al-Burhan’s former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Heavy fighting had been concentrated in urban centers but has now spread throughout what was once Africa’s largest country.

A fierce power struggle

The hostilities between al-Burhan and Dagalo, Sudan’s most powerful generals, broke out after weeks of rising tensions. The delicate power arrangement between the former allies since the 2019 ouster of long-term President Omar al-Bashir had broken down. “Now, their battle for supremacy is tearing Sudan apart,” says the BBC.

The conflict has its roots in disagreements over a proposed transition to civilian rule. It comes less than five months after a framework agreement to relaunch the political process to move to a civilian government. The SAF and RSF showed little willingness to adhere to the agreement, disagreeing on power sharing, setting up a civilian government, and integrating the RSF into the military.

Formal talks brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah remain suspended. And with a succession of failed ceasefires, observers are deeply concerned that the conflict may continue and the situation will deteriorate further.

Devastating consequences for civilians

An African proverb goes, “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

“The scale and speed of what is unfolding in Sudan is unprecedented,” says the United States Agency for International Development. According to reports from United Nations agencies, nearly 1.9 million people have been displaced since mid-April and have fled to safer locations inside and outside Sudan. But the most vulnerable remain stranded due to ongoing fighting, lack of financial means, or trying to keep their property, assets, and livelihoods.

Sudanese lack basic supplies like food, water, and medicine. The physical danger makes accessing essential goods, commodities, and services difficult.

After nine weeks of escalated violence, more than half of Sudan’s population needs humanitarian aid—a 57% increase from the number at the beginning of 2023. But humanitarian organizations have been severely restricted due to high insecurity and infrastructure damage. Aid workers and facilities have also been targeted and attacked, with incidents of looting and supply chain disruptions.

A shock to the Sudanese economy

Sudan’s deepening humanitarian crisis is set against multiple challenges, including economic struggles, natural disasters, and protracted refugee situations. Before the armed conflict began, 65% of the population lived below the poverty line. Decades of war, sanctions, and political instability have also added to the troubled nation’s economic hardships.

The economic fabric of Sudan has experienced a severe shock. Critical infrastructure has been destroyed, pushing health and financial systems to near collapse. Stores, markets, and banks have halted business, fearing attacks. As a result, food prices are rising, and essentials are out of reach for many. Transportation costs to leave conflict-affected areas have likewise increased exponentially.

A fight to the end

The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) reports that fighting is likely to continue soon. Additionally, analysts fear that the conflict risks descending into a sustained civil war. Kholood Khair, a political analyst in Khartoum, told The Guardian, “People in Sudan want to see democracy but don’t believe that either of these actors is going to bring it. It may well be a fight to the end, and neither will come out unscathed.”

Action on Armed Violence adds that the fighting could further fragment the country and worsen political turbulence. Sudan is riddled with other armed groups and militias that could add to the violence, turning a two-sided conflict into a more complex and chaotic situation.

David Miliband, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee, said, “The worst-case scenario—a complex and protracted conflict—would have catastrophic and destabilizing implications for the region.”

The power struggle in Sudan will have severe repercussions on the vast and strategic country’s transition to democracy, as well as far-reaching implications for regional stability.

How Birches Group can help

Severe social unrest or conflict causes people to be displaced, as we now see in Sudan. The outbreak of violence that has been happening over the last few months has forced thousands to move elsewhere in the country or cross over to neighboring countries for safety.

When faced with social uncertainty and unrest, organizations must apply a response different from how they would typically respond to economic volatility. Your organization must have a Special Measures Policy. This policy should include your triggers and immediate responses to cushion the effects of civil unrest on your staff as you assess the movement of the labor market.

We can help your organization develop a Special Measures Policy that aligns with your objectives and fits local conditions.

Stay informed with our June Market Monitor reports.

Birches Group also offers valuable resources like the Market Monitor report. Published in English, Spanish, and French every two weeks, each edition examines the labor market conditions of over 150 countries for signs of potential volatility.

Subscribe now to access the 1 and 15 June editions of the Market Monitor, where we focus on the conflict in Sudan and the strategies you can consider as you begin developing your Special Measures Policy.


Birches Group monitors labor markets that are making headlines worldwide and wants to share news and updates on the conditions in these markets.

“Blood that is spilled unfairly will boil until the end of time,” goes an old Persian saying. For nine weeks, the streets of Iran have been shaken by protests calling for the overthrow of the religious theocracy that has ruled for over 40 years. Iran’s countrywide protests began on September 16, when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody. Amini was detained in Tehran for allegedly not observing the country’s dress code for women and collapsed into a coma at a police station. A photo and video of Amini in the hospital were shared online and quickly went viral.

Iran has a long history of demonstrations and unrest. But the events since mid-September are different. They are led by women and young girls with no organizing force or leadership. They are spontaneous, persistent, widespread, and supported by people from different layers of society. Students and older Iranians, merchants and labor unions, and the middle and working classes have taken to university campuses and onto the streets of over 100 villages, towns, and cities across the country. Iranian expatriates have also rallied in support in Berlin, Washington DC, and Los Angeles.

And despite violent clashes with security forces, more than 14,000 arrests, and mobile and internet restrictions, dissent rages on with remarkable defiance.

The protests and the economy

The demonstrations across Iran now go far beyond Amini’s death and women’s rights. They have moved from demands for reform to demands for systemic changes, an expert told NBC News.

The protests have quickly swelled in response to the Islamic republic’s economic stagnation. The BBC says that, on average, Iranian families are “quite a lot poorer than they were 15 years ago.” Iran’s middle class has shrunk dramatically since 2018, with a third of its population falling into poverty. 23% of the youth population is unemployed, according to the Financial Times.

Additionally, Iran is facing a record inflation of 42.9%. Its currency, the Rial, has sunk to all-time lows. Since August, the Iran Rial has lost more than 20% of its value against the United States (US) dollar.

Businesses, shop owners, and bazaar traders in several cities closed their stores and went on strike, joining the protests in solidarity, Bloomberg and Iran Wire report. According to a primer from the United States Institute of Peace, factory workers in the energy and petrochemical industries also went on strike.

The Iran Chamber of Commerce warns that every hour of internet restrictions due to the protests costs US$1.5 million in damages to the Iranian economy. Research from the Tehran Computer Trade Union Organization states that 47% of internet businesses have lost more than 50% of their income. If the internet disruptions continue, 73% of businesses with less than 50 employees will lose over US$1,100 daily.

The government is considering a 20% pay raise for state workers. Still, the Rial’s sharp fall has eaten away at any benefit for workers, says London-based Iranian news website Iran International.

How we can help

Policies and procedures for keeping pay programs functioning in highly volatile markets such as Iran are critical. Organizations must develop a Special Measures Policy to determine the triggers and equivalent measures to support staff and ensure business continuity during political unrest. In addition, decide how your organization plans to implement the next steps for your staff. Employees need to know they can rely on their employer to help them during times of uncertainty.

We at Birches Group have extensive expertise in developing Special Measures Policies for organizations across different markets and sectors. Speak with our consultants today to find out how we can create one for you.


Birches Group monitors labor markets that are making headlines around the world and wants to share news and updates on the conditions in these markets.

Turkey, a Eurasian hub of 84 million people, is weathering an unprecedented economic and monetary crisis. Inflation is a major issue, with rising prices chipping away at purchasing power every week.

The Turkish Statistical Institute reported that Turkey’s annual inflation rate reached 83.45% in September, the highest in 24 years. Independent economists from ENAGrup believe the actual figure is 186.27%.

Inflation has been soaring in Turkey for 16 months, yet Bloomberg reports that price growth in the transcontinental country has been in the double digits since early 2017.

The country has suffered debt and currency calamities in the last few years, says The Wall Street Journal, but the current crisis is different. According to a report from Capital.com, aggressive interest rate cuts, high energy and commodity prices, heavy dependence on imports, and a depreciating Turkish Lira have contributed to surging inflation rates.

A paper from the Middle East Institute states that Turks have been driven to protect their savings by changing Lira deposits into gold and foreign currencies such as the Euro and United States (US) dollar. The tendency to keep savings under the pillow is also an ongoing trend.

What the government is doing

The Turkish government has taken several measures to protect households from high inflation. These mechanisms include:

  • Protecting Lira-denominated bank deposits
  • Raising the minimum wage by 50% in January and by 30% in July
  • Giving social transfers to poor households
  • Placing a 25% cap on rent increases
  • Reducing taxes on utility bills and introducing fuel and energy subsidies
  • Slashing value-added taxes on specific goods

But the measures have had little impact on the lives of Turks.

What the employers are doing

As their purchasing power shrinks and their job security erodes, many Turks are falling out of the middle class, says The Economist.

People are getting upset as they see their living standards falling. Businesses have been affected by the Lira’s fall in value, while people’s wages have been depleted because they can now buy less with their money. The price surge has upturned household and company budgets, and many are scrambling to cut costs. Over two-thirds of Turks are struggling to pay for food and cover their rent, according to a survey by the Yoneylem Social Research Center.

As a result, workers are negotiating higher salaries, and employers are taking proactive steps. Here are a few examples of what employers in Turkey are doing in response to mounting inflation:

  • Implementing across the board salary increases of between 15% to 30%
  • Improving allowances for items such as meals and transportation
  • added cash incentives or bonuses

Beginning summer last year, Mustafa Tonguc, the chief executive of DHL Express in Turkey, compiled a list of the cost of 50 essential products and compared them with their German equivalents to persuade bosses at headquarters to raise the wages of over 1,000 staff. According to the Financial Times (FT), Tonguc would raise wages three more times in the year ahead. “We as a business can’t fix the global economy, but we can take care as much as we can of our people,” Tonguc told FT. “In the last 12 months, many companies went bankrupt. We felt people should be assured of their job security,” he added.

How we can help

Policies and procedures for keeping pay programs functioning in highly volatile countries like Turkey are vital. A Special Measures Policy should be set up to determine the triggers and equivalent measures to support staff and ensure business continuity during volatile periods. In addition, organizations must decide how they plan to implement the next steps for their staff. Employees need to know that they can rely on their employer to help them during times of crisis.

We at Birches Group have extensive expertise in developing Special Measures Policies for organizations across different markets and sectors. Speak with our consultants today to find out how we can create one for you.


Birches Group monitors labor markets that are making headlines worldwide and wants to share news and updates on the current conditions in these markets.

The White House released in August 2022 the US strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Its renewed policy supports four main objectives, including advancing pandemic recovery and economic opportunity.

A priority and opportunity

SSA is of growing importance on the world stage. Comprising 49 countries, the region is a geopolitical priority and an emerging economic opportunity. SSA countries hold roughly 25% of United Nations General Assembly seats. Moreover, the region is integrating into the world’s largest free trade area.

The US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration describes SSA as presenting real opportunity, with indicators such as:

  • A combined market population of over 1.2 billion people (that is expected to double by 2050),
  • A gross domestic product of more than US$1.5 trillion, and
  • Home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The World Bank reports that economic activity in the area is set to expand by 3.6% in 2022, 3.9% in 2023, and 4.2% in 2024. Additionally, its young population makes SSA an attractive investment destination. Massive demographic shifts in this part of the world provide tremendous opportunities to create jobs, boost incomes, and reduce poverty, especially in a global environment of slowing growth.

China and its growing influence in the region

The world is well aware of Africa’s importance, encouraging countries to expand their political, economic, and security engagement with African states. In the past 20 years, new actors, such as China, have been shifting dynamics across SSA. And Chinese influence in the region is real and significant.

In 2001, China received less than 3% of the region’s exports, compared to nearly 19% for the US. In 2009, China overtook the US as SSA’s largest trading partner. Almost 20 years later, China has emerged as the region’s single greatest export partner, holding an 11% share of exports in 2019, while the US share dropped to 5%. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has invested in SSA through transportation, power, water supply, and other infrastructure projects. China has also provided loans, investments, and aid.

The US reframes its Sub-Saharan Africa partnership

The US is responding to growing foreign activity and influence in SSA and is engaging a region undergoing significant transformation. “It would be a strategic mistake for the US to abandon its engagement with SSA altogether—especially as US adversaries and competitors are relentlessly increasing their investment in the region…” said Daniel Runde, Director of the Project on Prosperity and Development, and Sundar Ramanujam, Research Associate of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS).

Biden’s policy differs from those of previous administrations because it focuses on overhauling its relationship with SSA from donor-recipient to genuine partnership. “Biden’s team extols Africa’s strengths and is proposing US-Africa partnerships on a range of issues,” said Mark Bellamy, Senior Advisor of the Africa Program at CSIS.

Further, Devex reports that the strategy has generally been well-received and is seen as sending a strong message about US engagement in the region. “It’s a strategy that reflects the region’s complexity—its diversity, its power, and its influence—and one that focuses on what we will do with African nations and peoples, not for African nations and peoples,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he announced the strategy.

It’s also an effort to make regional engagement authentic and not just a battleground to compete with China and Russia. “Too often, African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress rather than the authors of their own,” added Blinken in his announcement.

Why this matters to employers

With the intent of the US to reestablish ties and reinvest in SSA, employers with a presence in the region can anticipate a significant shift in the labor market in years to come. Monitoring the labor market as early as possible is critical for your organization to seize economic opportunities and remain competitive. Keeping an eye on market shifts enables your organization to plan and make informed decisions about hiring, pay management, employee benefits, and more.

How we can help

We at Birches Group survey leading employers in over 150 countries with a consistent methodology designed for dynamic, emerging markets across SSA. We survey labor markets of varying sizes, focusing on employers that set trends. Get updated and relevant data on every country in SSA. Speak with our consultants today to understand our data and how you can use it for your organization.


Birches Group monitors labor markets that are making headlines worldwide, and wants to share news and updates on the current conditions in these markets. 

Defaulting on debt

In November 2020, Zambia became the first African nation to default on its Eurobonds during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the country’s debt distress into headlines around the world. The debt crisis resulted from “years of economic mismanagement,” the International Monetary Fund said. Drought in 2019 and COVID-19 in 2020 worsened Zambia’s economic challenges.  

A precarious macroeconomic situation 

But the Zambian economy was witnessing “a weak macroeconomic condition” even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said. Growth was sharply declining. Zambia was facing severe challenges such as high inflation, unsustainable debt levels, low international reserves, and tight liquidity conditions, according to the economic outlook of the African Development Bank (AfDB). 

Over the past five years, Zambia’s economic growth slightly accelerated in 2017 and 2018, slowed in 2019, declined to a negative in 2020, and resumed in 2021, as reported by the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom. In 2018, Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was estimated at US$ 26.31 billion, with an annual growth rate of 4 percent. But an “expansionary fiscal policy mainly financed by external and local borrowing” caused Zambia’s debt to hit 91.6% of its GDP in 2019 and 104% in 2020.  

Inflation nearly doubled, and the Zambian kwacha quickly depreciated by 64%. When COVID-19 hit Zambia being in this situation, the country’s precarious macroeconomic position took a turn for the worse. The Zambian economy fell into a deep recession, the AfDB said. More inflation, currency depreciation, and a significant debt burden forced Zambia to default on its debt obligation and seek more relief from lenders. 

A new dawn for Zambia 

In August 2021, Zambia’s trajectory significantly shifted with the election of a new government led by longtime opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. As Zambia’s seventh president, Hichilema inherited a nation with unsustainable debt larger than previously known and had to deal with the impact of its debt default.  

According to Deloitte, debt restructuring, talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and a more stable exchange rate, among other measures, would be “fundamental to Zambia achieving macroeconomic stability.” Hichilema outlined an ambitious agenda to address structural weaknesses through macroeconomic reforms guided by an IMF program. 

Engaging the IMF 

“Zambia is in debt distress and needs a deep and comprehensive debt treatment to place public debt on a sustainable path,” the IMF said. The government began to actively seek a comprehensive debt restructuring. Specifically, it initiated a creditor engagement strategy to secure immediate debt service relief and better terms, the AfDB said. 

On December 6, 2021, the government of Zambia announced it had reached a staff-level agreement on a US$1.4-billion extended credit facility with the IMF from 2022 to 2025. On September 6, 2022, the IMF’s Executive Board approved a 38-month credit facility amounting to US$1.3 billion to “restore economic stability and foster higher, more resilient, and more inclusive growth.” 

These recent events marked a significant milestone and set the path for negotiations with Zambia’s lenders to restructure the country’s external debt.  

Focusing on economic recovery 

The country’s economic outlook has markedly improved, given renewed optimism and increased investor confidence post-elections. Additionally, the newly elected government has made several important policy announcements, including an enhanced focus on rebuilding the economy and creating an enabling business environment to foster growth. 

Zambia’s growth in the coming years is to be likely driven by “a clear path to debt sustainability, leveraging the country’s mining potential, increased private sector participation, focus on job creation, and good governance,” said Deloitte & Touche (Zambia) Managing Partner Humphrey Mulenga in Doing Business in Zambia. Economic activity will gradually pick up, with the World Bank estimating growth at an average of 3.8% from 2022 to 2025. While the market sentiment has markedly improved, the Zambian economy remains fragile, the IMF said in a September 2022 report. 

How we can help 

We at Birches Group survey leaders in over 150 countries with a consistent methodology designed for dynamic, emerging markets such as Zambia. We survey labor markets of varying sizes, focusing on employers that set market trends. Our survey data empowers organizations to monitor and benchmark positions in local markets and create salary structures tailored to each country’s requirements while conforming to global standards. 

Speak with our consultants today to access up-to-date labor market data and understand how to use it for your organization. 


When companies need to set or review salaries, they normally use local market data as their external reference. But what do you do when there is no local market data available? This is common in smaller countries where there are not as many established employers and little to no survey providers are present. As HR consultants, we have received many inquiries on this matter and have seen companies resort to using salary data from nearby countries in the region as their proxy.

While it is understandable that in this case, companies would think that salary data closest to them in terms of proximity could be a valid alternative because perhaps countries within the same region would share similar characteristics, this is certainly not the case. We conduct salary surveys in over 150 countries, three times a year and would argue that while the country next door would have many similar jobs as your own, salary rates and pay packages are considerably different.

In Birches Group, we believe that local staff salaries should always be based on local market data. Here’s why:

The cost of labor in every country varies significantly, even if they all belong to the same region. Local conditions and availability of talent are what drive salary movement in any country. Talent that could be widely available in one market, may be very limited in another. So, when smaller markets reference their salaries against larger markets, especially if they are regional locations where wages are usually three to four times higher, those salaries would be overstated if put into the local context.

Using the example above, this is a chart that illustrates the equivalent pay range for a BG-10, a Seasoned Professional, in each of the Southeast Asian labor markets. If you are an employer in Laos and lack salary data for a BG-10 level, it would not be advisable to reference the equivalent salary range in Thailand just because you share a border with them. Similarly, if you were to apply Thailand pay ranges locally in Myanmar, not only are you significantly overpaying, but this would also be challenging to defend and maintain moving forward.

Market practice on compensation and benefits is different for every country. For some markets, certain allowances or benefits are mandated by local law, while other markets do not share the same requirement. In other countries, employers provide benefits to address local hardships, such as a company shuttle provided to staff to address the lack of public transport. But if you look at other countries in the same region, this may not be the case. Also, some countries have benefits that are cultural in nature making it unique to their market, while others could have something else. If you reference pay practices from other countries, you risk ignoring the unique conditions of your own market. See this example below:

The chart above illustrates total compensation pay packages for a BG-10 Seasoned Professional in ten countries in east and southern Africa. If you look closely, each component of total compensation varies for every country. Using the example above on pay practices, if you are an employer in Tanzania for example, the pay mix at the BG-10 level is comprised of not only cash benefits on top of base salary but in-kind benefits as well. But choosing to use salary data from Kenya because they are close and they are a regional hub, the pay mix toward total compensation is not the same. If you apply this in the local Tanzanian context, you are missing market practices on in-kind benefits compared to other employers in the local market.

So What Should You Do?

If your organization is in a small market in need of salary survey data, we recommend working with a survey provider whose methodology is designed for developing markets. Survey providers are equipped to launch local salary surveys that can bring employers the market data they need to inform their pay management policies accordingly.

Birches Group’s Community Market Compensation and Benefits Surveys are designed with developing markets in mind. And because developing markets are dynamic, our surveys cover all elements toward total compensation to give our clients the full context of the local labor market. Contact us to access the market data you need or to learn more about our subscription options.

Want to know if your existing compensation practices have the elements of a good compensation program or if there are areas that could use some improvement? Take our quick Compensation Program Assessment Quiz

Bianca manages our Marketing Team in Manila. She crafts messaging around Community™ concepts and develops promotional campaigns answering why Community™ should be each organization’s preferred solution, focusing on its simplicity and integrated approach. She has held various roles within Birches Group since 2009, starting as a Compensation Analyst and worked her way to Compensation Team Lead, and Training Program Services Manager. In addition to her current role in marketing and communications, she represents Birches Group in international HR conferences with private sector audiences.

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Birches Group has been monitoring the volatile economic conditions in Sri Lanka and wants to provide updates on the current labor market conditions happening in the South Asian nation. 

The past few months have not been easy for Sri Lanka, and the condition has only worsened. The country has been facing economic, political, and social crises due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising foreign debt, and a depreciating rupee. According to a news report from BBC, the country’s inflation rate is now at 54.6% as of June 2022. Our August 1 Market Monitor shows that the exchange rate movement against the US dollar, Euro, British pound, and West African CFA franc in the past six months is at 79%. Moreover, after protests forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee to the Maldives and Singapore, Sri Lanka is in a state of emergency. 

Losing skilled talent 

These are challenging times for employers and staff in the South Asian island nation. It has been noted that there is an increasing number of skilled and educated Sri Lankans—from IT experts to hospitality and marketing professionals—who want to work overseas, where they can maximize the rupee’s devaluation and survive hyperinflation. According to Manusha Nanayakkara, the minister of labor and foreign employment, almost 168,000 Sri Lankans have registered to work abroad. Many intend to work in the Middle East, particularly in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An independent survey conducted in November 2021 by the country’s Institute for Health Policy reveals that 1 in 4 Sri Lankans wanted to emigrate if they had the opportunity. This ratio has increased to 1 in 3 in July 2022.  

Compensation in Sri Lanka and the Middle East 

Our July 2022 multi-sector survey indicates that compensation ranges in Middle Eastern labor markets are significantly higher than in Sri Lanka. Our survey results show that the average annual salary ranges for support staff at Birches Group Level 6 in Sri Lanka receive a minimum of US$ 5,810 and a maximum of US$9,896, while a senior professional at Birches Group Level 10 receives a minimum of US$ 14,246 and a maximum of US$ 23,517. In Kuwait, support staff at Birches Group Level 6 would be paid approximately seven times more, between U$ 48,054 and US$ 76,418, while a senior professional at Birches Group Level 10 would receive between US$ 108,420 and US$ 153,708. As the chart above indicates, the figures are even higher in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. 

Next steps for employers 

Birches Group’s Market Monitor categorizes labor market conditions according to levels of volatility, with Level One as the lowest (reporting standard market conditions and market movement between 0–20%) and Level Six as the highest (where the country has reported labor market collapse, departure of most comparators from the market, and absence of reliable data on currency and inflation). In our most recent Market Monitor, Sri Lanka is now at Level Four, where labor market conditions reflect sudden, unexpected social or economic events, currency devaluation of 50% or more in six months or less, and there is disjointed and unclear comparator response. When the labor market becomes volatile, such as what we are seeing in Sri Lanka, organizations should place policies and procedures to keep pay programs functioning and to maintain business continuity. 

To avoid losing skilled employees leading to brain drain, organizations in Sri Lanka must address the situation by establishing a Special Measures Policy. Through the Special Measures policy, employers can define the appropriate triggers within labor market conditions that warrant a change or update in salaries and benefits. These triggers, in turn, outline what organizations will do to help cushion the impact of hyperinflation on their people.   

How can we help 

We at Birches Group have extensive expertise in developing Special Measures Policies for organizations across different markets and sectors. Contact us today to find out how we can create one for you. 


  • 1 August Market Monitor Report