Hong Kong workers to see 1.8 per cent salary rise next year after inflation, placing them near bottom in Asia

City fares better globally, ranking 25th out of 72 places

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 November, 2017, 11:08pm

Hong Kong workers are set to see their salaries rise by a mere 1.8 per cent next year after factoring in inflation, putting them near the bottom of 20 Asia-Pacific economies for the second straight year.

Only Japan, New Zealand and Australia fared worse in terms of anticipated real wage growth for 2018, but the city performed much better globally, placing 25th out of 72.

Between August and September every year, human resources consulting firm ECA International surveys multinational companies around the globe to gauge salary adjustments for the year ahead.

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The latest edition was compiled using data from 260 firms from 72 countries.

Hongkongers are estimated to see a 4 per cent salary increase next year – the same increment for the third year in a row.

On a global scale, salaries in Hong Kong are still rising relatively fast
Lee Quante, HR consultant

But after factoring in inflation, which is expected to be 2.2 per cent next year, the real wage increase diminishes to 1.8 per cent, placing the city at fourth last in the Asia-Pacific region.

ECA Asia regional director Lee Quane noted Hong Kong’s Asia-Pacific ranking was brought down by a relatively strong performance in the region.

“On a global scale, salaries in Hong Kong are still rising relatively fast,” he said. The city sits at 25th in the global ranking in terms of real salary increase.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong echoed Quane’s views, arguing Hong Kong did not fare so badly when compared with other developed economies.

The city has enjoyed a low unemployment rate in recent years. The latest seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3.1 per cent between July and September, while the underemployment rate was even lower at 1.1 per cent.

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Those seeking greater salary rises might have to look for jobs on the mainland, which is estimated to see a 6 per cent wage jump next year.

Despite slowing economic growth, the optimistic figures point to “improved business sentiment in China, which perhaps shows that employers are more positive” about the prospects of both the domestic and global economy, Quane said.