Pay increased 6.2 percent in the first 3 quarters
The construction industry continues to be one of the sectors paying the highest increases in salary as it grapples with continuing manpower shortages caused by bulging order books.
According to the latest pay trend survey for 2013 by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, the top three sectors offering the highest overall base pay increases were construction with 6.2 percent, retail also with 6.2 percent and engineering with 4.5 percent.
The institute surveyed 97 participating companies to ask them about their pay adjustment for the survey period of January to September this year.
A total of 76 companies, with the number of employees totalling 114,832, responded to the survey.
Overall, the average base pay adjustment recorded for the 76 companies was 4.4 percent which was very close to the forecast of 4.6 percent the institute made in November last year.
A slightly higher proportion of the surveyed companies, at 98.7 percent, offered base pay increases compared to 97.9 percent of companies recorded in the survey for 2012.
Of the 114,832 employees concerned, 91 percent received a positive adjustment to base pay, 8.9 percent zero adjustment and 0.1 percent a negative adjustment.
Commenting on the findings, institute president Francis Mok Gar-lon said the economy in the first three quarters of 2013 was relatively stable with no major political or economic upheaval.
“Without foreseeable particularly favourable or unfavourable factors in the labour market, employers made no pay adjustments which followed their original plans. However, they have to consider other factors as well, such as company performance, individual performance, market benchmark and competitors’ pay adjustments,” he said.
For 2014, the institute said 38 participating companies indicated that base pay would be adjusted in the period January to April with 37 companies saying that they planned to hand out an overall budgeted pay increase of 4.4 percent.
The institute said the top five factors companies considered most important in pay adjustment decisions were company performance, individual performance, business unit performance, market pay adjustments and competitors’ pay adjustments.
“As regards inflation, it is factor more relevant to general-level staff, rather than all staff,” the institute said.
The construction industry has been firing all cylinders over the past few years as it struggles to keep on top of a continuing flood of work from the government and the private sector.
Among the projects that have been sucking up substantial numbers of professional and technical staff are the railway extension projects of the MTR Corporation (0066) such as the Shatin-Central Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and associated works, public rental and subsidised housing for the Housing Authority and property developments of the private developers.
Making matters worse on the labour market for construction staff is the current second wave of new casino building by the casino operators in Macau as they rush to get ready to siphon off increasing gambling receipts.
One company boss at a listed contractor said it is still facing “extreme difficulty” in recruiting and retaining staff at all levels.
He said his company has had three salary increases this year with the annual raise still yet to come.
“Mostly driven by market force. For certain staff, the [pay rise] is around 30 percent,” the boss said.