The January 2021 Pay Trend Survey by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management indicates an average base pay adjustment of 1.1%.
More than half of the organisations who have responded to the survey have implemented positive pay adjustment.
Conducted by the HKIHRM from March to April 2021, the January 2021 Pay Trend Survey covered 70 companies and a total of 100,300 full-time employees.
An overview of pay adjustments
Among the 31 companies who responded to the survey, 61.3% had overall positive adjustment while 35.5% had overall zero adjustment. Only 3.2% resorted to overall negative adjustment. Among the 30,575 full-time employees, 50.5% of them received positive pay adjustment while the rest got zero pay adjustment.
Pay adjustments by employee level
The weighted average of total pay adjustment was 1.1%, reflecting employers’ reticent approach in a slowly reviving economy. At 0.4%, the total salary adjustment for top employee level was the lowest, suggesting the C-Suite’s willingness to have a lesser salary raise to navigate the new normal with their workforce. The total pay adjustments for senior, middle, and general employee levels were 1.3%, 1.3%, and 1.1% respectively.
Pay adjustments by size of company
In terms of company size, the weighted average of total pay adjustments for large, medium, and small companies were 1.1%, 1.0%, and 1.2% respectively. This showed that no matter what the company size, organisations tended to mildly adjust salary in times of COVID-19.
Pay adjustment for local and multinational companies
The weighted average of total pay adjustment for multinational organisations was 1.8%, almost 1% higher than local organisations’ figure of 0.9%.
Among 48 companies who responded to the survey, the weighted average of nonguaranteed bonus paid in January/February for all employees was 1.77 months of pay. The weighted average of non-guaranteed bonus paid in January/February for top, senior, middle, and general employee levels were 6.43, 2.63, 1.95, and 1.23 months of pay respectively. This refl ected the vast discrepancy in non-guaranteed bonus paid between the C-suite and staff at other ranks.
Pay adjustment forecast
Among the organisations which provided budget adjustments for February to October 2021, which covered a total of 17,650 employees, 15.8% of them stated that they would implement a pay freeze. The forecasted overall average pay adjustment stood at 1.9%.
Business and manpower outlook
Among the organisations which responded to the question on business outlook, 16.2% forecasted that their business would take a turn for the worse. Slightly more than a third of the companies expected their business performance to stay the same as last year.
Only 14.7% of the organisations had hiring increase in the pipeline while more than half would freeze or cut headcount this year. For the companies who intended to reduce hiring, almost 90% would restructure or rearrange manpower while 75% harboured no intention to replace the reduced headcount.