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Greater China employees expect higher salaries in 2016
Considering the fluctuating market conditions and well-documented concerns surrounding China’s economic growth, one would perhaps expect employees in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China to be less buoyant about their job prospects and salary expectations.
However, the opposite seems to be the case, as we discovered in the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions Report.
Many had a bullish sentiment about their position in this employment climate, with the majority (70 percent) of the 1,733 surveyed saying that they are likely to change jobs in the next 12 months, citing a lack of career progression (58 percent) and the need for new challenges (52 percent).
More than that, of these potential job seekers, 93 percent expect a pay rise in their new jobs, with 72 percent expecting an increase of at least 10 percent from their current salaries.
Those who said they will be staying on in their current jobs are expecting pay rises as well, with 63 percent hoping for an increase of 1-10%.
These expectations may very well sit at odds with what some employers are prepared to offer.
In mainland China for example, some 40 percent of those surveyed expected a pay rise of above 16 percent, up two percentage points from last year. However, an overwhelming 82 percent of employers — surveyed for last year’s Michael Page Greater China Salary & Employment Outlook — are only prepared to offer salary increases of up to 10 percent.
One reason for employees’ high expectations could be because the demand for qualified professionals and technical specialists is still outstripping supply. Many Chinese employees have only ever experienced very strong market conditions, which perhaps could be another reason for this expectation of higher increases.
Outside of mainland China, employee-employer expectations are more closely aligned in the Taiwan and Hong Kong markets.
Salary expectations in Hong Kong have lowered since last year, with 10 percent expecting increases above 16 percent this year, compared with 12 percent last year. In Taiwan, over two-thirds of employees are expecting salary increases of up to 15 per cent from a new job — a close alignment between expected and forecasted salary increases.
That said, the potential of rising labour costs in 2016 is real, and companies who want to avoid grappling with this increase could possibly turn to boosting other aspects of their retention and attraction strategies.
For example, offering flexible working hours and opportunities to grow via development programmes and educational sponsorships have proved very popular in Hong Kong.
Overall, Greater China is a region that combines enormous size with opportunities for growth in many sectors. While recognising an air of caution in the market as we prepare to enter Q2 2016, we still expect to see strong demand in most sectors, in particular healthcare and life sciences, technology, digital/e-commerce and logistics and supply chain, to name a few.
To download the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions Report for deeper insights into employee preferences around attraction and retention initiatives, salary expectations and views on the predicted employment outlook, click here.