Date
19 November 2017
Employers say workers can expect an average 4.5 percent pay rise next year but labor sector representatives say that will be lower than the inflation rate. Photo: Bloomberg
Employers say workers can expect an average 4.5 percent pay rise next year but labor sector representatives say that will be lower than the inflation rate. Photo: Bloomberg

Bosses tip average 4.5% pay rise for workers next year

Workers can expect an average 4.5 percent pay rise next year, employers said.

A survey of 101 employers by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) shows half of the companies polled said they will pay employees more in 2015, Ming Pao Daily News reported Friday.

The financial services and construction sectors will offer the biggest increase of 5.9 percent while the information technology sector will give the lowest increment of 1.4 percent. On average, the increase will be 4.5 percent.

The HKIHRM said the survey, conducted between January and September, did not take into account the Occupy Central street occupation and therefore the impact of the protests on salary increases next year remains unknown.

Representatives of the labor sector said the average increase lags behind inflation which was 4.2 percent for the first three quarters this year, according to the Census and Statistics Department. The inflation rate soared to 6.6 percent in September.

Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who is the chairman of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, said he is concerned that wage increases cannot keep pace with inflation. This is a worrying sign the wealth gap in Hong Kong could widen further.

Lee called for employers to share the fruits of business prosperity. He suggested an average pay rise of 8 percent, adding the government should also increase the minimum wage.

The 101 companies surveyed were from 17 industries and employed a combined 137,000 full-time staff members. Eighty-four of these companies increased wages this year while two others freezed pay.

Caroline Mak, the chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, said local spending contributed to 65 percent of Hong Kong retail income and the Occupy Central movement might have affected residents’ spending.

But Lee said he is worried that companies would use the Occupy protests as an excuse not to increase salaries.

The study also revealed that bonuses paid to middle and senior-level managers averaged 6.28 months of salary this year, while that of ordinary staff members was only equivalent to 1.52 months of pay.

Of the 101 companies surveyed, 71 said they have a flexible bonus payment system in place, with the average bonus equating to 1.62 months of basic monthly pay.

Industry-wise, the financial services sector offers the most generous bonuses, averaging 6.3 months of basic pay, while the retail sector hands out an average of 4.72 months of basic pay.

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