More Hong Kong accountants are taking home higher salary, survey found

But poll by accountancy watchdog says fewer companies plan to hire this year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 10:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 1:40am

A higher number of accountants earn more than HK$600,000 a year, but job opportunities are likely to shrink as fewer companies want to hire due to a poor economic outlook, according to survey findings by Hong Kong’s accountant watchdog.

The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which polled about 3,600 members in March, found nearly one in two got HK$50,000 a month, with the number of such earners up six percentage points from last year. But getting a job in the industry will prove tougher this year, with only one in three accountancy firms planning to hire, compared with almost two in three last year.

Raphael Ding Wai-chuen, chief executive of the institute, said this lower figure might be due to the negative economic outlook, with more than half of the respondents describing the next 18 months as uncertain. “The survey did not ask for reasons [behind plans not to hire], but the economic outlook is uncertain, partly due to Brexit,” Ding said.

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But institute president Ivy Cheung Wing-han said demand for accountants had “increased by a lot in recent years”, as the need for more manpower in compliance and risk management grew.

About 78 per cent of the respondents received a pay raise last year, and 15 per cent earned at least HK$1.2 million annually, but about three in four accountants continue to work between eight and 12 hours a day, five days a week. However, accountants had a less demanding first quarter this year – usually the busiest period – with only 21 per cent of respondents working 61 to 70 hours, 4 percentage points lower than in the same period last year.

The survey also found 68 per cent of accountants working outside of Hong Kong this year, a jump from 40 per cent last year.