Welcome to Morgan McKinley's 2016 Salary Guide for professionals working in Hong Kong.
The hiring market in 2015 was fairly robust in Hong Kong, despite the markets and the country having to navigate some fairly choppy waters. Confidence in the overall strength of the global economy fell, yet the rise and fall of stock markets, and the knock-on effect on hiring within the SAR seems to reflect the mantra that ‘volatility is the new norm’. As a result, salaries have not been radically changing, and in some areas – despite the general lack of longer-term confidence – we have seen increases in salary and compensation levels.
The following report provides an overview of the salary and remuneration trends as well as expectations from the Hong Kong market for 2016.
The transparency of doing business in Hong Kong, and the long-term stability of the country (despite the scent of political change in the wind) has provided a much-needed shot in the arm to organisations that are keen to seek avenues for growth. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that GDP growth in Asia will exceed four percent in 2016, double the predicted average for the OECD nations. This picture spans a host of growth rates: from a speedy India at 7.4 percent; to a pedestrian Japan at 1.2 percent.
In Hong Kong, our closest economic and cultural neighbour and greatest trade partner is China, and whilst Asia’s largest economy is still anticipating growth of 6.5% there has been a great deal of recent concern over the deceleration rate: and how ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ a landing we might expect - following such an extended period of strong growth in the mainland.
After years of unrelenting growth and rising market performance the Chinese bubble was burst, quite suddenly, in the summer of 2015. The shock-waves were felt across the world, and heavily in Hong Kong. And yet, the devaluation of the Yuan (which was the catalyst for the sell-off) was exactly what international markets had been demanding for quite some time. Despite this, the shock was still powerful. That said, the return to growth has followed, and so any further steep declines might not, and should not, have such a lasting effect. Volatility remains - but the big headline drop (the first radical change of direction for the economy in so many years) has now been achieved, and so the initial shock of such a U-turn move cannot be repeated. The level of uncertainty might not, therefore, have such a far-reaching effect on consumer and organisational confidence in 2016.
As a result we are seeing further flexibility around employee costs in Hong Kong, and a growth of salaries in a number of areas, as detailed later in the report. Whilst volatility is to be expected, smart employers see the benefit of investing in a strong and capable workforce to address the economic uncertainty. By assembling a skilled and highly motivated team, businesses seem to be prepared to seek out growth, and allow the choppy waters of the markets to be navigated safely.
I hope you will find the report useful. If you have any thoughts on current salary trends across the professional occupations in Hong Kong, we would be interested to hear from you.