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China technology

Chinese AI, biotech talent in line for biggest increase in bonuses, according to survey

  • Average bonus for hi-tech sector employees to rise by 12 per cent
  • Manufacturing, hit by US-China trade war, in line for smallest increase
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 9:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2019, 9:03am

Workers in China’s hi-tech industries will see the biggest increase in bonuses across sectors for 2018, defying a slowdown in economic growth, according to a survey released by state-owned human resources consultancy China International Intellectech on Wednesday.

The average bonus for employees of companies in industries such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and new energy will rise by 12 per cent from 2017 to 29,836 yuan (US$4,353), according to the survey.

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The survey added: “Certain companies in the manufacturing, automobile, internet, finance and property industries had a shrinking bonus size.” It did not specify the amount. The poll, conducted in November 2018, covers 425 companies based in China’s tier 1 cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – and 249 firms in its tier 2 and 3 cities.

Only 46 per cent of the surveyed companies said they expected bonuses to expand, down from 57 per cent in 2017. As much as 7 per cent said they would not hand out any bonuses this year, up by 3 per cent, because they had cut costs amid a gloomy economic outlook, or because they had not met revenue targets, according to the survey.

A majority of the companies surveyed – 72 per cent – said they expected bonuses to remain unchanged from 2017, or rise within 10 per cent. The bonuses accounted for 15 per cent of workers’ annual salary on average, according to the survey.

Certain companies in the manufacturing, automobile, internet, finance and property industries had a shrinking bonus size
China International Intellectech

Finance sector workers will receive the fattest bonuses, an average of 40,678 yuan, an increase of 4 per cent, according to the survey. The property industry is in line for the second-largest bonuses, an average of 31,022 yuan. Those in the internet industry will receive an average of 27,430 yuan, the third-largest bonuses.

Manufacturing, which has been hit by the US-China trade war as companies shift factories out of mainland China, are in line for the smallest increase in bonuses, of just 2 per cent, to 17,358.

Sales staff will earn bigger bonuses than non-sales employees, in general. Sales managers, on average, will get a bonus of 45,488 yuan, comparing with 36,000 yuan for other types of managers. Staff in research and development departments will receive 25,133 yuan on average.

About a fourth of the companies surveyed were Japanese, and 13 per cent were European and US owned. A fifth were private Chinese companies, while a tenth were state-owned enterprises.

A fifth of the companies said they would divide bonuses into two parts and hand them out at different times in the year. Most companies hand out bonuses in January and February, around China’s Lunar New Year holiday.

China’s economy started slowing down in the third quarter of 2018, with retail sales and industrial output stalling. In the latest sign of a weakening economy, its official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index plunged to a two-year low of 49.4 in December, indicating a contraction in factory activity.

The country’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plummeted by a quarter over the course of 2018, making it the worst performer among major global markets.