Hangzhou white-collar pay rises bucking national trend

Employers in the east China city flying hight on the new economy, wooing employees with generous pay packages

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 9:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 10:59pm

White-collar salaries continued rising in Hangzhou in the second quarter, bucking a declining national trend, as employers in the bustling, hi-tech eastern city relied on new economy businesses to woo staff with more generous pay packages.

The average monthly salary for white collar workers in Hangzhou increased to 7,933 yuan (US$1,171), up 4.3 per cent on the last quarter, making the city the fourth highest paid in the mainland for office staff, up from eighth a quarter ago, according to a report from Zhaopin.com.

The findings were based on online job postings from 37 key Chinese cities, compiled by Zhaopin, one of the nation’s biggest online recruitment websites.

The Hangzhou figures contrasted with a declining trend nationwide which saw average monthly salaries for office workers dropping 3.8 per cent from a quarter ago to 7,376 yuan in the three months ending June, marking the first decline in two years since the hiring website started tracking the data.

Pay levels in Hangzhou are now gradually approaching those in China’s three highest-paid mainland cities – Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen – with the city riding high on its status as the country’s most-dynamic e-commerce centre, reported Zhaopin.com, with employers willing to lure the best talent talent with chunkier payslips and more generous benefits packages.

Hangzhou is home to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which owns the South China Morning Post, while China’s internet major NetEase also bases some of its business units, including its cross-border e-commerce arm Kaola.com, in the eastern China city.

“We are seeing a strong trend in China with top executives from multinational companies moving to large Chinese conglomerates based outside of major cities such as Shanghai, which is helping to raise salaries in tier-2 cities, such as Hangzhou,” said Sunny Song, a director of recruiting firm Michael Page in Suzhou.

The capital and most populous city in Zhejiang province, Hangzhou’s most competitive sectors include telecommunications, software, and IT services. The highest paid positions are for professional services, including accounting, legal and human resources.

“Though a second-tier city, it also stands out in its hiring demand for emerging economies, including e-commerce, internet finance, software and logistics,” said Jennifer Feng, the chief human resources expert at 51job.com, one of the country’s largest online jobs markets.

“Such sectors are showing a higher turnover rate, thanks to the rapid evolution of the tech-driven sectors.”

Nationwide, falling average salaries have mainly been hit by the plunge in pay at micro-sized companies, some of which have cut pay packets by more than 30 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

The capital Beijing continued to lead salary scales with the highest pay levels in the second quarter, with an average monthly salary of 9,791 yuan, still a drop of 1.6 per cent from the first quarter. Average monthly salaries also declined slightly in Shanghai and Shenzhen during the period.