Hongkongers' pay rises to be one of world's lowest: survey

Survey says Hongkongers' salaries are expected to increase by just 1 per cent after inflation, while the mainland leads Asia with 5 per cent

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 5:56am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 November, 2013, 5:56am

A second pay-trend survey has predicted rises of more than 4 per cent for Hongkongers next year but the effective increase after accounting for inflation - just 1 per cent - is described as being among the world's lowest.

The survey by British human resources firm ECA predicts a 4.5 per cent average increase, marginally higher than the 4.4 per cent estimated by the Institute of Human Resource Management last week.

After inflation, this puts the city 54th on a list of 64 jurisdictions covered by the ECA survey, while the mainland, with 5 per cent after inflation, leads the field in Asia and is tipped to be among the highest globally.

"Employees in Hong Kong will receive some of the lowest wage rises in the world next year in real terms," ECA Asia director Lee Quane said.

"On a more positive note, this … is actually higher than the increase recorded in 2012 and roughly the same as the one recorded here in 2013."

Pay rises for Singapore workers are also predicted to stand at 4.5 per cent, but because of lower inflation, people there "will feel better off", Quane said.

The local trend emerged from figures for Hong Kong-based staff provided by 112 companies, both multinationals and local enterprises, in a survey conducted between August and last month.

Before inflation, the average salary increase worldwide is estimated at 5.8 per cent, while that of Asia is 6.8 per cent.

As in the institute's survey, ECA predicts the highest increases to be in the banking and insurance industries. Those working in transport and logistics are expected to receive slightly below-average increases.

On the mainland, companies predict salary increases of 8 per cent, leaving 5 per cent after a 3 per cent inflation prediction.

Guangzhou and Shenzhen employers are forecast to offer higher increases than those in Beijing and Shanghai.

The highest pay rises on the mainland are predicted to be in industries like chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

But Quane said it was unlikely Hongkongers would be lured to the mainland in search of higher-paying jobs.

He added that when compared with other developed economies, like western Europe and the United States, Hong Kong's pay levels were still very favourable.