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Hong Kong's HR salary guide for 2020: What’s hot and what’s not?

Hong Kong's HR salary guide for 2020: What’s hot and what’s not?


Despite turbulent times, Morgan McKinley Hong Kong’s salary guide revealed that overall demand in HR remained strong.

In 2019, the specialist recruitment agency reported consistent demand for HR professionals in the non-financial institutions (FI) industries, such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and commerce sectors – although there was a slowdown in the hiring within FI industries.

What this mean for HR professionals?

According to the guide, “The downturn in the FI sector recruitment has probably compelled more HR professionals to seek opportunities elsewhere. Many candidates we came across were actively looking to move into the commerce sector.”

However, leaving the financial sector came at a cost.

“Given that most of the HR skills are transferable, hiring managers from the commerce companies were willing to absorb the candidates from FI industries. Yet, salary packages for HR professionals in non-FI companies were significantly less attractive than what they were offered in the FI industry,” the guide continues.

It’s worth noting that employers in most sectors were quite firm with their budget, leaving less wiggle room for salary negotiation. HR professionals considering moving into the commerce industry would have to expect a reduction in salary.

*Please note all salaries are in HK$


In-demand HR roles

HR professionals shopping for a new job were mostly hired for the following permanent job positions in 2019:

  • Employee engagement/rewards (3+ years of experience)
  • HRM (generalist)
  • Compensation & benefits (manager level)
  • HR executive (less than 5 years of experience)
  • HRIS manager (5+ years of experience)

There was also an increase in the demand for contract HR roles, with the trend expected to continue in 2020. The most popular contract job positions in 2019 were:

  • HR generalist support/executive/officer
  • L&D specialist
  • Training coordinator
  • HR operation specialist

Skill requirements for HR jobseekers in 2019

Candidates with transferable skill sets – such as HRMs and HRBPs – and those who could take on strategies to improve employee engagement were especially favoured. HR professionals actively involved in entrepreneurial decisions and making a contribution during business meetings with C-levels were also in demand.

According to the guide: “In terms of language ability, hiring managers continued to show a preference in candidates who are bilingual, especially those who can communicate effectively in both Cantonese and Mandarin for roles like HRM and HRBP.”

Candidates who had work exposure and experience in Greater China were at an advantage in securing a job.

Workplace trends in 2019

Women still dominate the HR job sector in Hong Kong. However, in 2019 there was an increase in the number of male HR professionals taking up roles – particularly in HRIS, C&B and employee engagement.

How technology changed the demand for HR pros

Many businesses in 2019 cottoned onto the benefits of incorporating digital marketing to enhance their reputation as an employer brand. This awareness led to a demand for HR pros who could effectively work with respective teams – such as marketing – to lead and implement digital marketing strategies during projects.

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