Asia Pacific Companies Most Competitive in Cash Compensation: Survey

If you are a finance and accounting professional in Singapore or Hong Kong and have not had a pay rise lately, then it is time to make a game plan for getting the salary you deserve.  That is because the majority of your peers are likely to have their base salaries increased.
 
According to the latest research by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half, Singapore and Hong Kong are two of only six markets surveyed where a majority of companies (55 per cent and 69 percent, respectively) are paying more to professionals in their finance and accounting department with the trend towards further increases.  The other four are China, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.  The majority of countries surveyed are either freezing or reducing salaries.
 
The global survey was conducted among 2,431 Chief Financial Officers in 16 countries, of which 150 are from Singapore.
 
Globally, Hong Kong is near parity with China, where 70% of CFOs in China are planning to increase salaries for finance and accounting professionals this year.
 
Stella Tang, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore, said Singapore is a prime market for experienced finance and accounting professionals, as their skills are in high demand.
 
"Much of the increase in salaries in Singapore is driven by competition for the best staff. Companies are confident in their growth prospects and are prepared to pay more to attract or retain the top people they need,” Tang said.
 
In large Singapore firms with 1,000 or more staff, 65 per cent are paying their finance and accounting staff more, compared to 54 per cent of smaller firms with less than 500 employees and 51 per cent of medium-sized firms.
 
"While the trend is definitely up, it does not mean everyone should expect a pay rise,” Tang said. “The ability to increase salaries depends on the performance of individual companies. Employees moving to new firms are likely to get a bigger pay rise than employees staying where they are.  Moving to a new company can often see a finance and accounting professional’s salary jump by a double digit percentage.”
 
“Many companies usually have a range in mind when hiring for a specific position, but will go to the top end of the range for outstanding candidates.  Candidates who feel confident they are experienced and have the ability to handle the responsibilities of the position, should be prepared to engage in a salary negotiation,” Tang said.
Pallavi Anand, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong, said an increase in base salaries confirms a sense of optimism as Hong Kong continues to be well regarded as a thriving hub for international and regional companies to locate their finance and accounting team for Greater China and Asia-focused operations.
 
In large Hong Kong firms with 1,000 or more staff, 80% are paying their finance and accounting staff more, compared to 63% of smaller firms with less than 500 employees.
 
"While the trend is definitely up, it does not mean every finance and accounting professional should expect a pay rise. The ability to increase salaries depends on the performance of individual companies. Employees moving to new firms are also likely to get a bigger pay rise than employees staying where they are," Anand said.
 
Bonuses
And when it comes to bonus time, Singapore finance and accounting employees also have a good chance of getting more.  The survey found 37 per cent of companies are increasing bonuses while 59 per cent are paying the same as last year.
 
Over in Hong Kong, 43% of companies are increasing bonuses while 47% are paying the same as last year.
Compared to the rest of the world, Hong Kong and China have the highest number of companies that are increasing bonuses for finance and accounting professionals, ahead of Singapore, Australia and Brazil.

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