Hong Kong wage earners can expect pay rises of 3 to 6 per cent this year with a grim economic outlook and a struggling retail sector, while their mainland counterparts may

see salary increases of 6 to 10 per cent, according to a recent survey.

Fifty-seven of the city’s employers planned to provide modest wage rises of between 3 to 6 per cent, while less than 20 per cent considered lifting pay by more than 6 per cent, the results showed. The findings were little changed from last year.

READ MORE: Pay rises will be smaller next year for Hongkongers, survey says

The survey was conducted by Hong Kong-based recruitment firm Hays and drawn from more than 3,000 employers across Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and mainland China, representing some six million employees.

Christine Wright, Hays’ managing director for Asia, said most of the surveyed employers were expecting skills shortages to “challenge efficient operations in the year ahead” but that overall employers would take a “cautious approach to salary increases over the next 12 months”.

Out of the five regions covered in the survey, Japanese firms were least generous, with only 8 per cent looking into salary rises of more than 6 per cent and 60 per cent of them only offering wage rises of less than 3 per cent this year.

Meanwhile, employers in the mainland stood out in terms of pay rise prospects, as more than 60 per cent of them intended to award their workers with an additional 6 per cent of their original pay or more.

“Our research shows salary expectations among candidates are higher than last year,” Wright added. “Candidates will need to do their research carefully when moving roles or approaching their current employer about a pay rise to ensure they have realistic expectations.”

READ MORE: HK$12,000 to wash dishes? Hong Kong financial chief John Tsang laments effect of ‘soaring’ wages of the low-skilled on city’s business owners

It was also revealed that nearly half of the Hong Kong job candidates surveyed said they opted to stay with their current employer mainly for the sake of achieving a good work-life balance, while 41 per cent cited an attractive package or job security as chief reasons.

The survey further found about two-thirds of local workers seeking to jump to another company were primarily motivated by higher pay, far exceeding the 43 per cent in Singapore and 41 per cent in mainland China who felt the same.

In terms of gender diversity, the city’s women held 28 per cent of management positions, followed by Singapore and Japan, where only 19 per cent of senior executives were women.

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