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Gulf between employee and employer pay rise expectations

Updated: 01 Mar 2014

One in four employees expect their salary to rise by less than three per cent in their next review, according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays.

In the survey of 541 people in Hong Kong, 26 per cent said they expect their salary to increase less than three per cent. 29 per cent expect an increase between three and six per cent, and 45 per cent expect an increase above six per cent.

The survey was conducted across Asia Pacific. The most positive salary expectations exist in Hong Kong, with 45 per cent of people surveyed expecting an increase above six per cent. This is followed by Singapore (41 per cent), Australia (35 per cent) and New Zealand (26 per cent).

But employer expectations are not in alignment. According to the 2011 Hays Salary Guide, in Hong Kong 59 percent of employers intend to increase salaries in their next review by between three and six percent, while 18 percent will offer increases above six percent. 23 percent intend to increase salaries by less than three percent.

“In today’s market many employees have higher expectations than their employers when it comes to their next pay rise,” said Emma Charnock, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong & China. “But employers won’t be swayed by these expectations. Instead of offering widespread salary increases, many employers are choosing to review employee benefits to help them attract and retain staff. They’re also quick to discuss potential career paths with their high achievers and offer training and development. Work/life balance improvements are also being used as alternatives to large salary increases.”

If you are approaching your next salary review, Emma has this advice to help maximise your chances of an increase:

• Prepare a list of your recent achievements that exceed your objectives (if this is your first review, look back at your original job description). List the resulting benefit to the company. This gives you strong evidence to support the value you are providing to the business.
• Also list any changed or increased work volumes or duties you’re now undertaking.
• Be realistic. State the salary you feel your performance and results are worth, and back it up with evidence from a Salary Guide to show it is in line with current market rates.
• Keep your salary review discussion professional. Stay calm and focused. Do not become emotional and do not talk of how much money you need – eg rising bills or mortgage repayments. Keep your review purely professional.
• Have a fall-back position. If your employer cannot afford to increase your salary, can you agree a date for another pay review in three or six months? What about additional annual leave, study or other benefits?
• Above all, use your accomplishments and the value you add to the organisation as the basis of your negotiation. In this way, you’ll clearly demonstrate your worth and will be in a stronger position to secure the maximum of the salary increase on offer.

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

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For further information please contact Paula Tychsen, Marketing Executive – PR & Communications of Hays, on +612 8226 9739 or

About Hays
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide. It operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, Hays employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011, Hays reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit of £114 million and placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments. 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

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