Salaries for middle-level managerial and professional employees who stayed in the same job between June 1996 and June 1997 rose by almost 10 per cent, a government survey shows. The overall increase for all middle-management employees surveyed was 7.7 per cent between the same period. The wages of those who stayed went up 9.6 per cent. But human resources and recruitment industry sources say the increase could be the most middle managers receive for some time, following last month's economic downturn. Patrick Maule, co-chairman of the Professional Institute of Human Resources, said bonuses and wage increases for the next year would 'probably be down'. The '1997 Survey of Salaries and Employees Benefits - Middle Managers and Professional Employees', by the Census and Statistics Department, covered 6,745 employees from 210 companies ranging from small (20 employees) to medium-sized (200 employees). Middle-management staff generally earn between $30,000 and $100,000 per month, according to human resources experts. The employees surveyed came from banking, manufacturing, retail, transport and hospitality sectors - and included administrative, training, customer service and public relations managers, internal auditors, accountants, civil and electrical engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, actuaries and foreign exchange dealers. The increase was about average, said recruitment firm TASA International's associate and senior consultant Patrick Ng Ga-wai. Mr Ng said uncertainty now surrounded next year's prospective wage increases, especially in the finance sector. 'It was a hard knock, people will stay for their bonuses but they won't be as good as last year,' he said. Middle managers most in demand at the moment included sales and marketing staff for consumer goods companies and finance experts, especially those with overseas education and work experience, and superior language skills, he said. Andrew Marty, director of Morgan & Banks, said information technology middle-level staff were also in demand. He said many middle managers were dissatisfied with the current employment situation and ready to take their end-of-year bonus and leave. The rate of increase of the fixed employees is usually higher because the other index includes salaries of newly recruited and newly promoted employees, often paid lower salaries than those already in the same rank. Of the employees surveyed, 76 per cent were entitled to a profit-sharing bonus, 34 per cent to housing benefits of some kind and 89 per cent to provident/retirement fund or pension.