Hong Kong employees may see a modest 0.8% increase in salary on average in 2021, a record low since 2010.
According to the JobsDB report “Hiring, Compensation & Benefits Survey,” which was conducted in September, the expected salary increase is 1.9% lower than the forecast last year.
Job functions likely to benefit from salary increases include “Analytics” (3.8%), “Corporate Sales & Business Development” (2.4%), “Education” (2.1%), “Transportation & Logistics” (2.1%), “Information Technology” (1.5%) and “Design” (1.4%). Most other job functions share a similar increment to the average figure.
“We’ve seen a surging demand for digital transformation-related positions, which will experience greater pay rises because their in-demand expertise will help businesses better cater to consumer behaviors online. Compared to 71% in the previous year, only 48% of employers have provided on-the-job skills training. While we understand that employers have to focus resources on dealing with the operational challenges arising from COVID-19, we hope that more efforts will be invested in staff training in order to sustain healthy business growth,” said Isaac Shao, chief executive officer at JobsDB Hong Kong.
The report also noted that 64% of employers expect hiring to rebound to pre-pandemic levels in 2021. Yet, it will most likely be later in the year as 63% of respondents will freeze or maintain headcounts in Q1. Still, this is a 28% increase compared to the previous report. Nineteen percent and 20% of them believe in an upturn in Q2 and Q3, respectively.
Seven percent acknowledged layoff plans to decrease operational costs, with frontline staff expected to take the biggest hit (78%). However, 14% of the surveyed businesses will launch recruitment plans targeting frontline (52%) and middle-management personnel (50%).
The most popular job functions in 2021 were “Corporate Sales & Business Development” (24%), “Accounting” (18%), “Admin & HR” (12%), “Finance” (12%), “Merchandising & Purchasing” (12%) and “Retail Sales” (12%) are the most in-demand job functions in 2021.
Additionally, over half of surveyed employers (55%) have recruitment plans in Q1 2021 for part-time, contract, and temporary positions to save staffing costs and maximize human resources flexibility.
Employers are also scrutinizing soft skills more. Respondents noted that they would examine personalities, work ethics, and compatibility with corporate culture in addition to work experience.
“Unlike in previous years, where greater importance was placed on knowledge and skillset, our research has found that employers are increasingly mindful of job seekers’ attitude and personalities — whether they are compatible with the company culture, which helps to foster team spirit and efficiency. The report tells us fresh graduates and candidates with less experience still have a good shot at landing promising job opportunities if they are able to demonstrate agile soft skills and inject innovative and creative energy into the mix,” Shao said.
Overall, the report reveals a cautious outlook on the economy among companies as they recover from the pandemic. Between June and August 2020, 65% of the surveyed employers recruited new staff. In particular, 55% inducted new full-time members, with frontline and clerical staff taking up 58% of the new roles.
Meanwhile, 23% of employers admitted to layoffs during the period. Among these, 37% came from middle management / non-managerial professionals, 43% from supervisory / officer ranks, and 42% from frontline staff.
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