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Salary & benefits key reason employees in China leave a job but work-life balance why they stay

Updated: 03 Feb 2016

press release

Employers will need to focus on retention this year as 44 per cent of candidates are currently looking for a new job and a further 42 per cent are open to hearing about a fresh opportunity, according to recruiting experts Hays. 

The newly released 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide outlines the findings of candidate and employer research across five key nations – China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles. 

Of the more than 3,000 employers representing over six million employees taking part in this year’s Guide, 34 per cent are worried they already don’t have the right talent on board to achieve current business objectives. And 96 per cent say skills shortages have the potential to impact business operations this year. 

However, Hays research reveals that not only are many employees already actively job hunting, 25 per cent want to be in a new role within the next six months with a further 21 per cent expecting to change jobs within the year.  

With almost half the workforce thinking about a move, employers need to pay close attention to what pushes an employee to start looking for a new job as well as their motivations for staying in the job they have.  

According to the 2016 Guide the top motivators for job hunting identified candidates in China in order of preference are:

  • Salary or benefit package (41 per cent)
  • Lack of career progression in their current role (40 per cent)
  • Seeking new challenges (33 per cent)
  • Lack of training or development opportunities (19 per cent)
  • Management style/company culture (16 per cent)
  • Concerns about job security (12 per cent)
  • Poor work-life balance (11 per cent)
  • Work location (11 per cent)
  • Other (2 per cent)

The key retention factors for employees in order of preference are: 


  • Work-life balance (49 percent)
  • Job security (44 per cent)
  • Career progression (39 per cent)
  • The management style & company culture (38 per cent)
  • Salary or benefit package (37 per cent)
  • Work location (37 per cent)
  • Training or development opportunities (24 per cent)
  • New challenges (19 per cent)
  • Other (3 per cent)    

Employee vs employer salary increase expectations
A sizeable 62 per cent of candidates surveyed did not ask for a pay rise in the last 12 months but our research reveals that candidates have higher expectations for the year ahead which don’t match up to what employers are intending to offer.


In China, 81 per cent of candidates surveyed expect a salary increase of more than 6 per cent but our research reveals that only 60 per cent of employers in China will award more than 6 per cent increases this year.  


Employers with modest salary intentions this year will need to pay close attention to the other key benefits candidates and employees value most highly to ensure they can attract and retain the best talent in the year ahead.


At the same time, candidates should do their research and set realistic salary expectations before asking for a pay rise or intending to change jobs this year.  


Job loyalty

Building a career with one employer is rare in Asia amongst our survey group with only five per cent of respondents lasting up 10 to 20 years with their current employer and only two per cent more than 20 years. Most (31 per cent) have been with their current employer for two to five years, with 27 per cent employed for only up to a year and a further 21 per cent for one to two years. A further 14 per cent have been with their current employer for five to 10 years. 

Get your copy of the 2016 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2016 iPhone app from iTunes.  

For further information please contact Kathy Lou, Head of Marketing of Hays in Asia, on +86 (0) 21 2322 9600 or 

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. 


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