Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Most Hong Kong employees can expect a raise for 2015

The accepted convention is that employees will never be happy with their salary increases. But with a generally robust economy and encouraging prospects for the coming year, there should be little cause for serious complaint when company awards are confirmed over the next few weeks. 

Providing a handy guideline for what to expect, human resources consultancy firm Aon Hewitt is projecting average increases of 4.8 per cent for 2015, with employers also preparing to use bonus pools and non-cash rewards to distinguish top performers and those in key roles. 

The findings are based on feedback from more than 300 respondents representing all the main sectors from transport and technology to retail, engineering and finance. “Our results show that companies are very much concentrating between 4.5 and 5 per cent – not ranging in their answers from, say, zero to 10 per cent,” says David Leung, leader of Aon Hewitt’s reward practice in Hong Kong for general industries. 

“We can interpret that as a consensus, with a likelihood of increases at that level across the workforce, from management to supervisory and manual roles.” 

There are some notable exceptions caused by relative supply and demand. This year, for instance, increases in the construction and engineering sector were already higher than average, and the projection is 6.2 per cent for next year. 

The category covering healthcare and medical devices also stands out, with a projected figure of 5.8 per cent and recruitment demand on a steady upward path, unaffected by the financial crisis and its aftermath. 

Exceptional in the opposite sense is the transport, logistics and shipping sector. This has had a challenging past two years and will continue to feel the effects of Hong Kong’s declining entrepot trade and export volumes through the Kwai Chung container port. However, activities in express services and areas related to e-commerce are expanding, offering one bright spot. 

“Looking at specific roles, IT and compliance jobs are ‘hot’ at the moment, with employers often finding it hard to fill certain roles,” Leung says. “Therefore, organisations are making provision in their budgets and their pay bands to attract these skills. 

“They are also finding ways to take care of high-performing and high-potential staff in key positions to ensure that the talent pool is there for future growth.”

The obvious way is simply to award bigger bonuses to such employees. Other methods being used, however, are also more likely to include personalised training and development, broader career opportunities, flexibility in leave practices, and enhanced health and wellness benefits. 

“Most companies are now aware of the ‘total rewards’ approach when structuring their compensation packages,” Leung says. “However, a lot are still struggling to give the pinpoint rewards certain groups need, or are not doing it systematically.”