2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide: Skill shortages continue to burden China’s employers


• 97 per cent of businesses in China believe the skill shortage epidemic will impact their operations in the year ahead
• 45 per cent of workers in China plan to switch jobs this year to seek new challenges
• 45 per cent of China’s employers plan salary increases from between 6 per cent – 10 per cent 

The global recruiting experts Hays today released the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which highlights salary and recruiting trends drawn from more than 3,000 employers across Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore representing six million employees as well as the salary ranges for more than 1,200 roles.

It reveals that 97 per cent of employers in China are still struggling to find the skilled individuals they need and the situation is worse than ever. Businesses in China are concerned that the continuing skill shortage will severely impact their operations this year.

“The ability to attract and retain the best talent always provides a company with a competitive advantage, but in 2017 with skill shortages persisting and significant changes and challenges on the horizon, it is more important than ever,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

The skills shortage in China has been well documented and as business operations are likely to be affected throughout the year, employers are encouraged to invest in the training and development of staff and to become more strategic in their talent management practices.

“Recruitment and retention of talented employees will undoubtedly be one of the biggest challenges facing employers this year, and heightens the need for a review of recruitment policies and procedures in the midst of a war for top talent,” adds Christine.


China remains the standout in the region for salary increases with 45 per cent of employers expecting to increase salaries by 6 to 10 per cent. However, as was the case last year, there seems to be a disconnect in the salary expectations of Chinese workers and what employers are offering. 11 per cent of employers will award more than 10 per cent increases, whereas 51 per cent of candidates surveyed in China are expecting more than 10 per cent.

In addition, according to recent Hays Asia Salary Guides, 63 per cent employers in China increased salaries by more than 6 per cent in 2015, while in 2016 only 56 per cent did so. This rate of growth is expected to continue in 2017.


In the coming year, 65 per cent of employers in China intend to award bonuses to all employees and 28 per cent to only some employees.

Across all Asian countries, bonuses were most commonly related to company performance (88 per cent) or individual performance (84 per cent). Only 10 per cent of staff bonuses were guaranteed. A further 34 per cent of bonuses were related to team performance.


Across all Asian countries surveyed, 85 per cent of employers provide staff benefits in addition to salary and bonuses. Health/medical remains the most commonly offered benefit (79 per cent of employers) followed by life assurance (40 per cent), a car allowance (34 per cent), pension (31 per cent), housing allowance (26 per cent) and club or gym membership (16 per cent).


Over the last 12 months, 44 per cent of employers in China increased permanent staffing levels, 14 per cent decreased permanent headcount and 41 per cent kept permanent staffing levels unchanged.

In the year ahead, 49 per cent of employers in China expect to increase permanent headcount, 11 per cent to decrease permanent staff levels and 41 per cent expect levels to remain unchanged.

This year, 28 per cent of employers expect to increase their use of temporary staff. Approximately 22 per cent of China’s employers use temporary staff on an ongoing basis while 36 per cent bring in temporary and contract staff just to work on specific projects.

Other key findings

China’s workforce is the least culturally diverse in the region with foreign employees comprising 6 per cent.

Japan is next at 9 per cent with 11 per cent in Malaysia, 12 per cent in Hong Kong and 21 per cent in Singapore.

Gender diversity in China has improved slightly with women holding an average of 35 per cent of management roles compared to 32 per cent last year. Also, the proportion of gender diversity in China is higher than the other countries in Asia, such as Japan and Malaysia etc.

Download your copy of the 2017 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting https://www.hays.cn/en/salary-guide/index.htm or by contacting your local Hays office.

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, contract roles and temporary assignments. 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. As at 30 June 2015 Hays employed 9,023 staff operating from 240 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2015, Hays reported net fees of £764.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £164.1 million. Hays placed around 63,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 200,000 people into temporary assignments. 23% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

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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