Hongkongers can expect pay rises of between 4.1 and 4.3 per cent next year - slightly less than they received in the past year, according to a survey. Construction workers are likely to get the biggest wage increase - between 4.8 and 5.3 per cent. Those working in retail will fare worst, with an expected average rise of 3.5 to 3.9 per cent. The survey was jointly conducted by Baptist University and the Hong Kong People Management Association from July to September, and covered 88 companies with a total of about 80,000 employees. READ MORE: HK$12,000 to wash dishes? Hong Kong financial chief John Tsang laments effect of ‘soaring’ wages of the low-skilled on city’s business owners It found that the average wage increase for next year was forecast to be a little smaller than the 4.3 to 4.7 per cent awarded from July last year to June this year. Dr Felix Yip, the association's president, said companies were offering smaller rises next year because they were cautious about the economic outlook. "Although the unemployment rate and inflation are lower now, the cost of operations has not dropped," Yip said. The association's vice-president, Viola Wong, said companies were now looking at different factors before settling on pay increases. "Last year, companies usually looked at their business performance to decide how much of a pay rise they wanted to offer," Wong said. "It's different this year, because companies are looking at employees' individual performance instead." The survey also found that people working in construction and real-estate management put in the longest hours - working an average of 52.7 and 51.1 hours per week respectively. Also, it was found that the average starting salary this year for someone working in construction with a bachelor's degree was HK$16,012 a month. Those working in sales were worst off, with an average starting salary of HK$11,112. The survey also covered pay rises in the past year and forecasts for next year for mainland companies. It looked at 54 mainland companies, which had a total of about 60,000 employees, and found that the workers had been offered raises of 5.9 to 6.8 per cent in the past year. The forecast increase for next year was between 5.8 and 6.6 per cent.