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Hong Kong lags behind Dongguan, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen in a 2021 pay and benefits survey. Is the SAR losing its competitive edge?

As Hong Kong moves towards greater integration as part of the Greater Bay Area, understanding pay comparisons with neighbouring cities will be critical for HR departments to attract talent in the future.

As such, salary increases for surveyed Hong Kong companies ranged from 1.3% to 2.1% for the period from July 2020 to June 2021. The overall projected salary increases for 2021 would range from 1.9% to 2.4%.

Meanwhile, for neighbouring SAR Macau, salary increases ranged from 1% to 1.7%. The overall projected salary increases for 2021 would range between 2% to 2.3%.

In comparison, over the same period, salary increases for the surveyed corporates in cities in Guangdong ranged from 5.2% to 6%. As such, for this region, the overall projected salary increases for 2021 would range from 5.3% to 5.8%.

This data is according to the 2021 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Pay and Benefits Survey, which covered over 224,000 employees across Hong Kong, Macao and cities in the Guangdong Province.

It has been conducted by The Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development of School of Business of Hong Kong Baptist University in conjunction with the Research Center for Human Resources Management of School of Business Administration of South China University of Technology and  Hong Kong People Management Association and Talent Development and Management Association of Guangdong.

According to the survey, the 2021 overall actual salary adjustment in the entire Greater Bay Area ranged from 1% to 8.8% for the period from July 2020 to June 2021. 

Region

Cities in the GBA 2021 Overall Average Actual Salary Adjustment

Managerial
Staff

Supervisory/
Technical Staff

General Staff

Operative Staff

Dongguan

5.7%

5.8%

5.1%

5.5%

Foshan

8.8%

8.6%

6.4%

6.0%

Guangzhou

5.9%

5.2%

5.2%

4.3%

Huizhou

4.9%

4.3%

4.4%

4.0%

Jiangmen

4.1%

3.1%

4.4%

4.5%

Shenzhen

8.5%

7.2%

7.3%

5.6%

Zhongshan

3.6%

5.6%

5.6%

4.7%

Zhuhai

2.2%

2.5%

3.0%

3.6%

Hong Kong

1.9%

2.1%

2.1%

1.3%

Macao

1.0%

1.1%

1.4%

1.7%


The 2022 overall projected salary adjustment for all levels of staff ranged from 1.9% to 8.4%.  

Region

Cities in the GBA 2022 Overall Average Projected Salary Adjustment

Managerial
Staff

Supervisory/
Technical Staff

General Staff

Operative Staff

Dongguan

4.9%

5.2%

4.7%

4.5%

Foshan

8.1%

6.2%

6.0%

5.6%

Guangzhou

7.6%

7.4%

7.8%

7.5%

Huizhou

4.4%

4.0%

4.7%

3.8%

Jiangmen

4.1%

4.6%

4.5%

3.9%

Shenzhen

6.8%

8.4%

7.1%

7.7%

Zhongshan

5.0%

6.3%

6.6%

7.0%

Zhuhai

5.2%

5.2%

6.0%

7.0%

Hong Kong

2.3%

2.3%

2.4%

1.9%

Macao

2.0%

2.0%

2.3%

2.2%


The 2021 average overall turnover rate of the Greater Bay Area ranged from 4.7% to 102.1%.

Region

Cities in the GBA 2021 Average Turnover Rate by Staff Level

Managerial
Staff

Supervisory/
Technical Staff

General Staff

Operative Staff

Overall

Dongguan

7.4%

8.4%

24.1%

73.9%

57.9%

Foshan

29.3%

14.6%

30.5%

33.5%

31.3%

Guangzhou

23.9%

16.9%

30.8%

23.7%

24.8%

Huizhou

6.7%

14.2%

12.7%

102.1%

66.8%

Jiangmen

13.9%

16.4%

27.6%

34.6%

30.7%

Shenzhen

19.5%

22.3%

40.9%

64.2%

58.3%

Zhongshan

27.8%

22.2%

26.8%

44.1%

36.9%

Zhuhai

22.8%

23.2%

43.8%

32.2%

32.9%

Hong Kong

8.8%

9.7%

22.6%

20.9%

18.0%

Macao

4.7%

5.3%

17.6%

13.4%

12.1%


Hong Kong








Staff Level

2017

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2018

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2019

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2020

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2021

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2022

Overall Projected Salary Adjustment

Managerial Staff

3.6%

3.9%

3.9%

2.3%

1.9%

2.3%

Supervisory / Technical Staff

3.9%

4.3%

4.1%

2.4%

2.1%

2.3%

General Staff

3.9%

4.2%

4.0%

2.3%

2.1%

2.4%

Operative Staff

4.0%

4.3%

4.1%

2.2%

1.3%

1.9%


Starting monthly salaries for fresh graduates in Hong Kong were higher than those of last year, with those who graduated with a Bachelor Degree in engineering functions and IT functions having recorded the highest figures (HK$17,206 & HK$16,287 respectively) among the other disciplines.

Education

Level

2021 Average Starting Monthly Salary (HKD)

Engineering

Production

Marketing

Sales

IT

Finance

& A/C

HR & Admin.

R & D

Other Function

Secondary school or below

12,240

11,425

12,060

11,767

13,370

12,621

12,036

12,000

12,491

Diploma / Associate Degree or equivalent

14,967

13,425

13,900

13,200

15,108

14,908

14,427

13,983

14,349

Bachelor Degree

17,206

15,183

14,819

14,429

16,287

15,604

14,666

14,767

15,549

Master Degree or above

19,038

15,067

15,371

15,400

17,154

16,238

16,073

16,450

15,976

The overall average turnover rate ranged from 8.8% to 22.6%. While high-level positions tended to have less turner “career/promotion prospect” and “pay” were ranked as the top two reasons for employee turnover in Hong Kong.


Macau 








Staff Level

2017

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2018

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2019

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2020

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2021

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2022

Overall Projected Salary Adjustment

Managerial Staff

4.0%

2.7%

3.0%

0.9%

1.0%

2.0%

Supervisory / Technical Staff

4.8%

3.6%

3.1%

1.5%

1.1%

2.0%

General Staff

3.4%

3.7%

3.1%

1.2%

1.4%

2.3%

Operative Staff

3.2%

4.0%

3.3%

1.1%

1.7%

2.2%

Salary adjustment forecast for 2022, 2% to 2.3%. Meanwhile, the overall ranking of salary review criteria, “Change in Government Policy” was ranked the top for all levels of staff, followed by “Individual Performance”.


Guangdong Cities








Staff Level

2017

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2018

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2019

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2020

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2021

Overall Average Salary Adjustment

2022

Overall Projected Salary Adjustment

Managerial Staff or Above

4.1%

5.0%

5.4%

4.6%

6.0%

5.6%

Supervisory/Technical Staff

4.8%

5.6%

6.4%

5.0%

5.7%

5.8%

General Staff

4.5%

6.0%

6.4%

4.5%

5.4%

5.5%

Operative Staff

5.5%

5.5%

6.8%

4.4%

5.2%

5.3%

Starting monthly salaries for fresh graduates varied according to their qualifications and job nature. Results showed that Master’s Degree or above holders in the Research & Development and Production Functions were offered the highest monthly starting salaries at RMB 9,128 & RMB 7,992 respectively.  

Graduates with Bachelor Degree in the R&D function and Engineering functions recorded the highest figures (RMB7,005 & RMB6,029). In comparison with last year, the entry salary levels for most fresh graduates from different academic qualifications was slightly higher than last year.  

Education

Level

2021 Average Starting Monthly Salary (RMB)

Engineering

Production

Marketing

Sales

IT

Finance

& A/C

HR & Admin.

R & D

Other Function

Secondary school or below

4,485

4,074

4,282

4,502

4,602

4,224

4,136

4,724

3,857

Diploma / Associate Degree or equivalent

5,110

4,742

4,938

4,746

5,136

4,690

4,674

5,636

4,489

Bachelor Degree

6,029

5,348

5,721

5,590

5,951

5,470

5,428

7,005

5,178

Master Degree or above

7,940

7,992

7,438

7,289

7,545

7,000

6,623

9,128

6,186

Over a quarter (26.5%) of respondents to the survey adopted the flexible employment model, while 15.8% of companies said they would adopt this model in the next year. 


READ MORE: 2021 Hong Kong Salary Trend Report


Lead image / 123RF
All other photos / Supplied by 2021 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Pay and Benefits Survey

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