Promotion does not guarantee a salary increase for Hong Kong workers

Research by Robert Half indicates only 1 per cent of Hong Kong companies always provide a pay rise following a promotion. Read more here. 

  • Only 1% of Hong Kong CFOs say they always give a salary increase when promoting an employee
  • 60% say they want to assess a promoted employee’s performance before offering more pay
  • 28% say they lack the financial resources to offer salary increases

A promotion doesn’t automatically mean a bigger pay cheque in Hong Kong. Independent research by specialised recruitment company Robert Half indicates only 1 per cent of Hong Kong companies always provide a pay rise following a promotion. 

Six in ten Hong Kong finance leaders say the primary reason for promoting without attributing a corresponding salary increase is because they want to assess an employee’s performance first before remuneration is increased. Meanwhile, just under a third of respondents (28 per cent) feel their business lacks the financial resources to increase salaries, followed by 7 per cent who say they urgently needed to fill the role. 

Adam Johnston, Managing Director Robert Half Hong Kong said: “A promotion is always a clear sign of confidence in an employee, but without a corresponding salary increase it has the potential to negatively impact an employee’s motivation and ultimately influence their decision to look for another job.”

“Hong Kong’s tight labour market and low unemployment rate make it essential for companies to reward top performers through career advancement opportunities. However, a competitive salary package is a very effective retention tool, and many employees are prepared to work hard if they are confident of being rewarded by a higher salary or bonus.”
“In circumstances where a promotion doesn’t go hand in hand with a pay rise, it is vital to explain the reasons why, as well as discussing exactly what an employee needs to do to make that salary increase happen.”

Primary reason for promoting an employee without a corresponding pay rise

Employee performance needs to be assessed first 60%
Lack of financial resources 28%
The job had to be filled urgently 7%
Remuneration was too high for previous position 4%
We always promote with a corresponding pay rise 1%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 Hong Kong CFOs and finance directors.

Mr Johnston concluded: “Employees who receive a promotion without a salary increase should consider negotiating non-financial benefits like flexible working hours or options to telecommute. It’s also worth bearing in mind that taking on a more senior role can be instrumental to long term career advancement, which can compensate for missing out on a pay rise in the short term.” 


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm, surveying 100 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) and finance directors in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.  


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]