Hong Kong's Finance and Accounting Professionals Should Expect Only Modest Salary Rises in 2016

While hiring activity remains strong in Hong Kong, the majority of professionals in the accounting and finance sector should expect only modest salary rises in 2016.

According to the latest Salary Guide released by recruitment firm Robert Half, 83 per cent of employees can expect their wages to stay the same or to increase between one and five per cent.

Only 16 per cent of jobs will command an increase of between six and nine per cent while less than one in a hundred (0.6 per cent) of roles will enjoy salary increases of 10 per cent or more.

While 83 per cent of Finance and Accounting roles will see stable or modest wage growth of up to five percent, another 17 per cent of roles will enjoy an increase of six per cent or more.

Double digit increase will be rare except for senior roles in critically important area.  One example is a Director of Internal Audit at a large company (>500 employees).  Candidates with the right experience are hard to find so they can expect their salary to increase by 11 per cent.

Highly sought after financial and accounting skills in Hong Kong are business/financial analysis; risk and compliance; cost accounting/costing; financial planning and analysis; and audit.

Adam Johnston, Robert Half’s Managing Director for Hong Kong and Japan said there were plenty of opportunities for professionals seeking to move to a new company or to seek advancement within

their existing company.

“Nine in ten CFOs and CIOs we surveyed plan to make new hires in the first half of 2016, either to add to their headcount or to replace existing employees that have left.”

“Even with this level of hiring activity we are not seeing large jumps in remuneration levels.  Compared to three years ago, salary increases will be modest unless the role is a difficult one to fill or a candidate has a specialised skill that the company needs.”

“The smaller salary rises reflect a change in the way employers are viewing the local labor market.  In previous years business leaders have typically cited the lack of supply of candidates as the chief factor making it difficult to get professional talent.  This year employers are struggling to find candidates with the right skills. So it’s not a lack of supply that is the problem, it’s a lack of skills.”

“This focus by employers on skills mean they are only prepared to pay top dollar for exceptional candidates,” said Johnston.

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