2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide: Hong Kong business confidence increases, but employers remain cautious when it comes to increasing headcount and salaries

Updated: 26 Jan 2018

HK 2018 image

Business confidence in Hong Kong is growing with 68 per cent of organisations expecting business activity to increase in 2018. This is just one of the key findings from the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide which in its 11th year, highlights salary and recruiting trends based on responses from more than 3,000 employers across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

60 per cent of those surveyed also saw an increase in business activity in 2017 vs 2016. Optimism is also growing about the expected performance of Hong Kong’s economy in 2018 with 20 per cent of employers expecting the economy to strengthen further in 2018. This is an increase of nine per cent from what was previously reported and highlights a growing optimism that all major engines of growth in Hong Kong’s business and economic landscapes are synchronized in an upward trajectory.

However, despite the positive feel good factor in the territory, employers will remain cautious when it comes to increasing headcount with only 43 per cent intending to do so in 2018 vs the 39 per cent who did in 2017.

Salary increases will also be moderate in 2018 with 49 per cent planning to offer salary increases from between 3-6 per cent, one per cent down from the actual reported in 2017. Two per cent more employers (22 per cent) in 2018 plan to offer salary increases of more than 6 per cent in the year ahead.

“The economic outlook for Hong Kong is very positive, but our research shows employers will take a conservative approach to both permanent hiring and salaries in 2018 to make the most of these conditions,” said Dean Stallard, Managing Director of Hays Hong Kong.

“Although most companies in Hong Kong plan to award only modest salary increases during their next review period, we do expect to see significant increases for candidates with niche skills moving jobs as well as those with skills in short supply in 2018,” said Dean.

“For candidates, these conditions represent something of a challenge. Those staying in a job are likely to see only modest salary increases while those changing employers have a better chance of securing a higher salary, but there is likely to be fewer new jobs coming to market.”

“Candidates must do their research on what is happening in their sector to assess how much power they have in the market in 2018 and whether they need to do more to develop the skills in greatest demand,” said Dean.

A preoccupying worry for many employers in Hong Kong is the continuing skills shortages issue in the territory that is also a prevailing theme across the Asia region. Down two per cent from last year, 89 per cent of employers believe that skills shortages (without doubt or will be some impact) will hamper the effective operations of their businesses.

Areas of greatest skill shortages

In Hong Kong, employers reported that the top five hardest roles to recruit for are:

• Entry up to middle management IT roles (nominated by 27 per cent of employers)
• Entry up to middle management Accountancy & Finance roles (nominated by 19 per cent of employers)
• Entry up to middle management Engineering roles (nominated by 18 per cent of employers)
• Entry up to middle management Sales roles (nominated by 17 per cent of employers)
• Middle management Operations roles (nominated by 16 per cent of employers)

In answer to a new question added to the Salary Guide this year, 54 per cent of employers in Hong Kong say they are confident of recruiting candidates with the skills their organisation needs in the next 12 months while 32 per cent were not very confident of meeting this challenge. Ten per cent are very confident and just a lowly four per cent are not at all confident.

Benefits
The majority of employers in Hong Kong (86 per cent) offer staff benefits with 94 per cent providing health/medical benefits, 47 per cent life assurance, 45 per cent a pension, 29 per cent a housing allowance, 13 per cent a club/gym membership and 12 per cent a car/car allowance.

Bonuses
47 per cent of employers told us they plan to award bonuses to more than 50 per cent of staff, down four per cent from last year.

Most of our Hong Kong respondents (86 per cent) said bonuses would be based on company performance with a further 83 per cent indicating individual performance as the reason why bonuses would be paid in their organisation.

In terms of value, 40 per cent of employers in Hong Kong plan to award between 11 and 50 per cent of staff salary as a bonus. A further 35 per cent said bonuses would equate to less than 10 per cent of staff salary, 14 per cent from 51 to 99 per cent of staff salary and 11 per cent of employers report bonuses will equate to 100 per cent of staff salary.

Main candidate findings for Hong Kong

Candidate trends revealed in the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide include:

• 68 per cent of candidates are willing to relocate for a job (up 18 per cent from last year).
• 48 per cent of candidates believe their skills will be relevant in 5 years; 33 per cent do not expect their skills to be relevant and 19 per cent were unsure.
• 26 per cent of candidates spend little to no personal time on professional development, 34 per cent spend 1-2 hours weekly, 20 per cent spend 3-5 hours weekly, 13 per cent spend 6-10 hours weekly, three per cent 10-24 hours weekly and four per cent more than 24 hours weekly.
• 28 per cent regard their current work-life balance as “good” and a further 17 per cent as “very good”. 39 per cent rate their work-life balance as “average”, 11 per cent as “poor” and five per cent as “very poor”.
• Women held 29 per cent of management roles at the time of our survey – down four per cent as reported in our previous survey.
• 14 per cent of roles in Hong Kong are held by foreigners, up two per cent from our previous survey.
• 35 per cent see career progression opportunities where they work currently while 29 per cent see none. 36 per cent are unsure.
• 59 per cent believe their performance is fairly evaluated by their employer while 41 per cent do not.

Learn more about the 2018 Hays Asia Salary Guide by clicking here or request your free copy of the guide by emailing our marketing team here.

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

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Hays is located in Hong Kong at 6604-06, 66/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon, Hong Kong.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2017 the Group employed 10,000 staff operating from 250 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2017:
– the Group reported net fees of £954.6 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £211.5 million;
– the Group placed around 70,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 240,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 49% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 27% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA
 

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