Resilient salaries reflect positive market outlook

22 June 2010

Salary Guide Highlights:

  • Asia Pacific salary levels for finance and accounting professionals remain mostly resilient in 2010/2011
  • A significant number of Hong Kong finance professionals have received a salary increase in the past 12 months (FA: 20%; FS: 54)
  • Despite a majority (FA: 56%; FS: 72%) of Hong Kong professionals receiving a bonus in 2009, a significant portion (FA: 35%; FS: 50%), of them are dissatisfied with their current salary package
  • While Hong Kong employees are the most optimistic within our Asia Pacific survey in their expectations for a bonus payout this year, one in five of them indicated a lack of confidence in their existing companies’ growth prospects.
  • An alarming portion of Hong Kong employees have NEVER negotiated their salary (FA: 28%; FS: 32%)
  • A majority (FA: 72%) of Hong Kong employers surveyed are concerned about losing top financial performers to other job opportunities in the next 12 months
  • A majority (FA: 84%) of Hong Kong employers are looking to hire across all experience levels in the next six months

According to the 2010/2011 Robert Half Asia Pacific Finance & Accounting (FA) and Banking and Financial Services (FS) Salary Guides, the average salaries in the region have increased or remained largely resilient compared to the previous year. In spite of the economic downturn, a significant number of finance professionals in Hong Kong have experienced a salary increase in the past 12 months (FA: 20%; FS: 54%) illustrating a positive outlook for the Hong Kong market.

 

The 2010/2011 Robert Half Asia Pacific Finance & Accounting Salary Guide conducted in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore and the Banking and Financial Services Salary Guide conducted in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore provide data on salaries of finance professionals. The Guides indicate that despite a majority (FA: 56%; FS: 72%) of Hong Kong finance professionals receiving a bonus in 2009, a significant portion (FA: 35%; FS: 50%), of them still do not believe that their salary package is fair or in line with the market.

 

The survey also indicates that while Hong Kong employees are the most optimistic in their expectations for a bonus payout this year (FA: 68%; FS: 84%) in comparison to the Asia Pacific average (FA: 54%; FS: 74%) one in five Hong Kong employees still claim a lack of confidence in their existing companies’ growth prospects.

 

Andrew Morris, Director of Robert Half Hong Kong commented that, “Despite Hong Kong employees’ dissatisfaction with their current salaries, an alarming portion of them have NEVER negotiated their salary (FA: 28%; FS: 32%). Instead, a majority of Hong Kong employees believe that it is necessary to switch jobs to gain better pay (FA: 65%; FS: 82%). General salary dissatisfaction among Hong Kong employees combined with their reluctance to communicate opinion makes for a volatile employee market.”

 

“Employers and employees need to be aligned in their understanding of what will constitute a pay rise, as this will allow employers to manage expectations and retain key talent,” added Mr. Morris.

 

A skills shortage of high calibre candidates is shifting the dynamics of the market in favour of the job seeker, providing employees with greater opportunity to negotiate wage and benefits. With the market becoming more fluid, a majority (FA: 72%) of Hong Kong employers surveyed are concerned about losing top financial performers to other job opportunities in the next 12 months. 

 

Mr. Morris further commented, “In the current climate, from a financial and morale perspective companies must protect themselves from losing key talent to stay ahead of the competition. Hong Kong employers must act now and seek new employee retention strategies by focusing on their staff’s career development needs and reintroduce financial and non-financial reward packages which will become the key tools for talent retention over the coming year.”

 

With renewed market optimism, companies in Hong Kong are starting to change their focus from cost cutting to growth as they start to bring back those areas that were hit the hardest during the down turn. A majority (FA: 84%) of Hong Kong employers are looking to hire across all experience levels in the next 6 months. Key roles that are currently in demand in the financial services sector include accounting, finance, compliance, operational support and audit. Additionally, there is a great demand in the Hong Kong market for more experienced staff and those who have strong leadership and management skills.

 

The Asia Pacific Finance & Accounting Salary Guide 2010/2011 is Robert Half’s first salary guide focused on the finance and accounting sector in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore, providing comprehensive research on salary ranges for 30 key finance and accounting functions. The Guide also serves to provide an overview of hiring outlook and sentiments within the sector.

 

The Asia Pacific Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide 2010/2011 is Robert Half’s second salary survey focused on the banking and financial services sector in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, providing comprehensive research data on average salary ranges for 25 key financial services positions. This annual guide analyses the issues affecting employees in light of the recent global financial crisis, and the impact on recruitment trends within the financial services sector.

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