In Focus
HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong employers keep 2017 average wage hike at 3.8%

Find out which sector gave employees the lowest rise.

Hong Kong employers plan to provide modest salary increases of 3.8% on average across all industries in 2017, but their hiring intention remains positive as 30% of the companies have expansion plans of their workforce this year, according to a recent study released by Willis Towers Watson, a global advisory, broking and solutions company.

The 2017 Hong Kong Pay Review Survey reveals that two-third of the 249 surveyed companies which will conduct salary review after survey period in January 2017, reported their anticipated salary increase for 2017 averaged at 3.8%, excluding special cases for promotions and probationary increase, as well as individual market catch-up adjustments.

Compared to the average increase of 3.9% in 2016, the overall level is observed to be static over the last 12 months. However, for the other one-third which have already conducted salary review in January 2017, they reported the 2017 actual salary increase only as 3.4%, slightly below estimates reported by their peers.

“Despite the slowing GDP growth from 2.4% in 2015 to 1.9% in 2016, some of the industries had a better year in 2016 compared to other industries or to prior years. Their salary adjustment, as a result, outperforms the average level in quite a significant rate,” said Frances Wang, Rewards practice leader at Willis Towers Watson in Hong Kong.

“Benefited from rising property prices last year, Property Development and Management industry has reported that their performance in 2016 was ahead of their results in 2015, and their actual salary increase in 2017 (4.0%) is the highest among all the companies that have already conducted salary review in January.”

“Employees from the hospitality sector, including Hotel, Consumer Products, Retails and Food & Beverage have been experiencing the lowest actual pay rise (2.5%-2.8%) in 2017, according to our survey results, reflecting a challenging business environment that the industry is facing due to falling inbound tourists and visitor numbers.”

Up to 30% of the surveyed companies plan for an expansion of their people workforce that have a direct impact on revenue. Only 7% of the surveyed companies indicated a reduction in headcount for support functions in 2017.

Among all industries, the Life Insurance industry has the strongest hiring sentiment, where 73% of the surveyed companies indicated that they will increase headcount for positions with direct revenue impact.

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