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China awards biggest salary increases in Asia: Hays Salary Guide

China is once again the standout performer for salary growth in Asia, with about half of employers increasing salaries by more than 10 per cent in the past 12 months, according to the 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide.

Updated: 19 Jan 2016

China is once again the standout performer for salary growth in Asia, with about half of employers increasing salaries by more than 10 per cent in the past 12 months, according to the 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide.


The 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide, out now, reveals salary and recruiting trends for 1,200 roles across China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia and was based on a survey of 1,200 employers, as well as placements made by Hays.


“It’s positive to see that 47 per cent of employers have increased salaries by 10 per cent – this has more than doubled since our last salary survey. China last year also led the Asian countries in terms of salary growth despite uncertain economic conditions in other parts of the world,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.


According to the Salary Guide, 28 per cent of employers also raised salaries by 3 to 6 per cent and 17 per cent increased by 6 to 10 per cent in China.


Looking ahead, 30 per cent of Chinese employers also expect to raise salaries by more than 10 per cent when they next review and 44 per cent are anticipating an increase of 6 to 10 per cent. A 3 to 6 per cent increase is also expected to be given by 19 percent of employers.


Meanwhile, almost three quarters of employers across Asia, or 72 per cent, believe the economy is likely to remain stable or strengthen. 65 per cent of employers in Asia also say their business activity increased in the past 12 months and 66 per cent envisage it will increase in the next year.


“This is expected to put greater pressure, on not only sourcing the right skills to manage increased business but also potentially the package on offer to prospective employees,” says Simon. “Our salary survey revealed 93 per cent of employers’ skills shortages will hamper their business operations.”


According to the 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide, trends at a glance for China by sector are as follows:


·         Accountancy & Finance:

China’s accountancy and finance jobs market has remained steady over the past year, thanks in part to two key trends. The first has been the ongoing localisation of management teams in many tier-two cities such as Suzhou, while China’s economic shift to an internal consumer growth model led to increased recruitment activity in the consumer goods and retail industries.


·         Architecture:

China’s rapid growth and continuous plans for commercial, residential and industrial structures ensure an active recruitment market with ongoing opportunities for architects. While many opportunities are based in first tier cities, many more projects are being constructed in second and third tier cities, so vacancy activity is widespread.


·         Banking:

Like markets the world over, the global economic environment has had an impact on China’s banking industry. Notably foreign banks that rely heavily on trade financing, and where global economic conditions are a large factor, have felt the effects. Yet China’s domestic economy is strong and has offered some shelter in this global economic storm. Thus many banks are gradually shifting their focus and product offering accordingly.


·         Education:

China is increasingly recognised as a market for international education, particularly in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou where there are both challenges and opportunities for foreign education providers. There is also the potential for even more opportunities in second, third or fourth-tier cities, where there is room for development and less competition, although salaries for education staff are lower in these locations compared to first-tier cities. 


·         Engineering & Construction:

China’s construction market continues to be driven by infrastructure projects supporting the oil and gas, clean energy, retail, entertainment and public and private healthcare industries. The majority of these structures are being built in China’s second and third tier cities as companies and real estate developers capitalise on local spending power.


·         Finance Technology:

2012 was one of the strongest years in China for finance technology since 2008’s global financial crisis. It was no coincidence that while global banks regrouped, restructured and reinvested, China saw tremendous growth in this critical support function from an offshore capacity. Even with regulatory complications, the growth potential prompted many firms to consider building critical systems to combat their tough onshore business.


·         Human Resources:

Significant talent competition and high CPI has resulted in increased salaries for China’s HR professionals over 2012. There is a large gap, however, between the lower and the upper salaries as businesses are more interested in investing in top-level candidates to retain the best talent.

The recession in most developed countries has also affected international businesses, which in response have lowered junior-level salaries in order to cut costs. They have also become more conservative about merit-based increases.


·         Information Technology:

China’s IT industry has continued to grow strongly over the past 12 months as MNCs implement research and development (R&D) centres here. However the global economic environment did impact some of these plans and headcounts were tightly controlled by overseas headquarters.


·         Life Sciences:

China’s healthcare industry continues to demonstrate impressive growth. One factor driving this is China’s continued economic prosperity, which has fuelled awareness of the importance of personal health. As a result, people are demanding more sophisticated healthcare services and China’s healthcare expenditure continues to increase by around 10 per cent annually, with approximately 2 trillion

RMB now spent each year.

·         Manufacturing & Operations:

Despite ongoing uncertainty in some sectors surrounding the impact of global economic conditions on domestic business activity, China’s employment market remains strong in the manufacturing sector, particularly for those businesses servicing the FMCG, life science, transportation and oil and gas industries. Supporting the market’s strength are the forecasted headcount increases for most manufacturing employers, which stand in the range of 5 to 10 per cent.


·         Property:

The slowdown in China’s property market that first emerged in late 2011 continued into early 2012. But by late 2012 buyers started to return to the market and credit conditions improved. As a result we have seen several areas of high candidate demand. Candidates with a strong foundation in the retail sector or within mixed-use developments are sought by agency, developer and investor organisations.


·         Sales & Marketing:
China’s consumer goods and retail market grew by 14 per cent in 2012 with FMCG, durable goods, luxury and food and beverage companies all competing to take advantage of the positive climate. This is creating a high level of sales and marketing vacancy activity in retail operations as well as commercial organisations that are entering the Chinese market. 


·         Supply Chain:

As it expands its presence and influence around the world, China is becoming a major participant in international commerce and a pre-eminent partner in the global supply chain industry, both as a supplier and an end user. China is also establishing itself as a prototype for emerging markets that seek the economic benefits of active participation in the global market.


Access the 2013 Hays Asia Salary Guide by contacting your local Hays office or by downloading The Hays Asia Salary Guide 2013 iPhone app from iTunes.


Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.


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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,800 staff operating from 245 offices across 33 countries.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.


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