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Salary & benefits key reason employees in Hong Kong leave a job but work-life balance why they stay


Updated: 21 Feb 2016

Employers will need to focus on retention this year as 30 per cent of candidates in Hong Kong surveyed for the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide are currently looking for a new job. A further 48 per cent are open to hearing about a fresh opportunity, according to recruiting experts Hays.

The recently released 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide outlines the findings of candidate and employer research across five key nations – China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

Of the more than 3,000 employers representing over six million employees taking part in this year’s Guide, 34 per cent are worried they already don’t have the right talent on board to achieve current business objectives. And 96 per cent say skills shortages have the potential to impact business operations this year.

However, Hays research reveals that not only are many employees in Hong Kong actively job hunting, 21 per cent want to be in a new role within the next six months with a further 23 per cent expecting to change jobs within the year.

“With almost a third of the workforce thinking about a move, employers need to pay close attention to what pushes an employee to start looking for a new job as well as their motivations for staying in the job they have”, says Dean Stallard, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.

According to the 2016 Guide the top motivators for job hunting identified by candidates in Hong Kong in order of preference are:

• Salary or benefits (65 per cent)
• Seeking new challenges (40 per cent)
• Lack of career progression in their current role (26 per cent)
• Management style/company culture (23 per cent)
• Poor work-life balance (16 per cent)
• Work location (16 per cent)
• Concerns about job security (12 per cent)
• Lack of training or development opportunities (9 per cent)
• Other (7 per cent)

The key retention factors for employees in Hong Kong in order of preference are:

• Work-life balance (46 per cent)
• Job security (41 per cent)
• Salary or benefit package (41 per cent)
• Career progression (38 per cent)
• New challenges (36 per cent)
• Work location (33 per cent)
• The management style & company culture (33 per cent)
• Training or development opportunities (21 per cent)
• Other (3 per cent)

On a country level, work-life balance is the main reason people stay with an employer in Hong Kong, China and Singapore. In Japan career progression is the key to retention while in Malaysia it is salary.

Employee vs employer salary increase expectations
A sizeable 55 per cent of candidates in Hong Kong that we surveyed did not ask for a pay rise in the last 12 months but our research reveals that candidates have higher expectations for the year ahead which don’t match up to what employers are intending to offer.

In Hong Kong, a sizeable 42 per cent of candidates surveyed expect a salary increase of more than 6 per cent but our research reveals that only 17 per cent of employers in Hong Kong will award more than 6 per cent increases this year.

“Employers with modest salary intentions this year will need to pay close attention to the other key benefits candidates and employees value most highly to ensure they can attract and retain the best talent in the year ahead,” said Dean.

At the same time, candidates should do their research and set realistic salary expectations before asking for a pay rise or intending to change jobs this year.

Get your copy of the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2016 iPhone app from iTunes.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06,66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884 or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Kerryn Celine, Senior Marketing Executive - South East Asia at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9844 or

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