Employers will raise pay 4.4pc, survey finds
Salary increases expected later in the year will be bigger than January's bump of 4.1 per cent
Annual pay rises given to local workers in January averaged 4.1 per cent, down 0.4 of a percentage point from the previous year, according to an Employers' Federation of Hong Kong survey.
But pay rises planned for later in the year will increase to an average of 4.4 per cent, according to the survey, parts of which were released yesterday.
But the bumps would not mean much, one unionist lawmaker said, as the government predicts inflation of 4.5 per cent this year.
The survey covered 93 companies in nine industries, the federation said.
Banks and financial services companies awarded pay increases of 2.5 per cent on average, while those in property and construction paid 5 per cent.
Some construction companies were planning to give a 5.7 per cent pay rise.
Federation chairman Pang Yiu-kai said: "A good team is vital for every company. We consider that good employment practices are as important as pay when it comes to attracting and retaining high-calibre staff."
The federation said the construction sector was suffering from a labour shortage, and urged the government to consider importing overseas workers.
Late last year, the federation suggested its member companies freeze workers' pay or limit rises to 3.5 per cent.
Pang said: "Compensation alone will not help those industries - for example, property and construction - where there are serious labour shortages. The federation believes the government must introduce viable labour importation measures to ensure that growth industries can take full advantage of their opportunities for the benefit of all."
There were 801 job vacancies for manual construction workers in December, up from 330 the year before, according to the Census and Statistics Department.
Unionist legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Labour Party, opposed any plan to import foreign workers as "only an excuse by employers to push down wages". His views were shared by fellow unionist lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing of the rival Federation of Trade Union, who called a 4.4 per cent pay rise unacceptable because it would mean "a zero rise in real terms".