No pay cut for civil service graduates, body advises
Starting salaries HK$2,000 above market rate, but commission backs attractive joining wage
An influential advisory body on civil service pay would not recommend cutting the starting salaries of university educated civil servants, despite its research revealing they are paid HK$2,000 above market rate.
The report by the Standing Commission on Civil Service Salaries and Conditions of Service was welcomed by unionists who argued a pay cut would deter top talents from joining the government.
According to the starting salaries survey, monthly pay for university graduates joining the private sector between April last year and this April averaged HK$20,432. Those who joined the government earned about 8.8 per cent more, at HK$22,405 a month. The jobs included executive officer II, simultaneous interpreter and assistant social work officers.
For lower-ranking officers, such as cleaners, the survey showed their monthly salaries averaged HK$10,155 at entry levels, about 5.7 per cent higher than the market rate, which averaged HK$9,575.
Despite the clear discrepancy in starting salaries between the public and private sectors, the commission backed no change.
Chairman Wilfred Wong Ying-wai said the findings "should not be applied in a mechanical manner".
"We have considered the current economic climate and it is the best judgment," he said. "New recruits in private sectors, such as management trainees, could have bigger pay rises as they gather more experience, but in the government you have to follow the pay structure."
The survey, which is conducted every three years, covered 10,370 employees in 135 companies.
Federation of Civil Service Unions chairman Leung Chau-ting said it was "a wise decision" to maintain stable starting salaries for civil servants.
"To many university graduates, it is no longer an attractive option to join the government," he said.
"[Also] if you lower this starting level this time and increase it some years later, it could create an embarrassing scenario where the seniors and juniors are earning the same amount of money."