HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Monthly gender pay gap widens to $6,500

On average, women are earning less despite making up half of the workforce.

The difference between the monthly median pay of males and females in Hong Kong widened to $6,500 in 2018 from $6,000 in 2016, data from the Census and Statistics Department revealed.

Figures from the “Women and Men in Hong Kong Key Statistics” noted that the number of women workers rose by about 1.48% to 1.92 million in 2018 from around 1.89 million the previous year, whilst gap between the number of male and female workers narrowed to 18,200 workers in 2018 from around 30,400 a year ago.

But despite women occupying more than 49% of the island city’s workforce since 2016, the difference of their average monthly median wages compared to men steadily worsened. In 2006, the gap only stood at $3,500, with women and men earning $8,000 and $11,500 on average, respectively. The gap was even lower twenty-three years ago, at only $2,000.

In 2018, almost 90% of male workers earned more than $10,000 monthly, in contrast to 66.6% of women. Excluding foreign domestic workers, the percentage for women is at 79.7% whilst the percentile for men remained the same.

The gap between men and women earners at the highest monthly employment earnings measured (more than $30,000) stood at 220,100 workers, more than from the previous year’s gap of 211,400 workers. The high number of women earning between $4,000 and $4,999 was attributed to the number of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, who earn an average of $4,400 monthly.

Overall, more women than men are earning in the lower income brackets (less than $3,000 up to $15,000), whilst more men are getting paid $15,000 and above.


C&SD said that difference could be attributed to a host of factors, including the differences between female and male employed persons in respect of industrial and occupational distributions, hours of work, educational attainment, working experience and nature of work. 

The report also noted that compared to women, there is a higher proportion of men employed as managers and administrators, professionals and associate professionals, which led to higher monthly employment earnings than other occupational groups. Meanwhile, more females were engaged in clerical support work and elementary occupations which offered lower monthly employment earnings.

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