Most of Hong Kong’s workers will be getting a financial bonus this year despite the expected economic slowdown, a new survey has found.
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Randstad Hong Kong, the recruitment and human resource services agency, revealed on Tuesday that 85 per cent of the 126 companies it asked planned to make the extra payment.
Among those firms, 77 per cent expected the bonus to equate to between one and two months salary.
The boost for workers came after Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po predicted that the city’s gross domestic product would grow between just 2 and 3 per cent this year, compared with 3 per cent in 2018.
Chan said the uncertain global economic outlook, based in part on the US-China trade war, would restrain the city’s economic performance.
But, according to Randstad’s 2019 Bonus Expectations Survey, which polled 126 employers and 442 locally-based professionals over a six-week period from January to February, local employees remained optimistic amid a slowing economy.
Some 87 per cent of workers expect to receive a bonus this year and of those, 73 per cent said they anticipated a payout of up to two months salary.
However, 57 per cent said bonuses were not the only factor that would prompt them to start considering a job change.
Employees from across a variety of industries were questioned, with most of them from banking and financial services, information technology, construction, property and engineering, as well as retail.
“The workforce in Hong Kong is very motivated by financial remuneration. Therefore, they are more attracted to companies that offer a high salary and are known for giving big bonuses,” said Natellie Sun, managing director of Randstad Hong Kong.
“However, when it comes to leaving for another employer, people tend to consider a number of factors beyond salary or bonus, such as development opportunities, culture and workplace flexibility.”
Still, four out of 10 respondents said they would begin looking for a new job if they did not get a bonus this year, with most of those working in banking and the financial services industry.
A separate study conducted by recruiting group Hays found that nearly a third of the 726 locally-based employees it surveyed were actively seeking a new job.
The findings, published in the 2019 Hays Asia Salary Guide, came from a survey of more than 5,000 people across Asia, showed an upswing in confidence with regard to skill levels among employees.
Of those surveyed, 72 per cent believe their skill sets will continue to be in demand in the next five years, up from 48 per cent the previous year.
“But, our research shows that skills enhancement in Hong Kong is on a downward trend, with employees spending less and less time out of working hours on upskilling,” Jack Leung, business director at Hays Hong Kong, said.
“This is a worrying trend, particularly when you consider how quickly new technologies are changing the face of a broad spectrum of industries.”
Economist Andy Kwan Cheuk-chiu, director of the ACE Centre for Business and Economic Research, said workers could get bonuses this year because some businesses could still make a profit.
However, he predicted that the economy and consumer sentiment would slow as the city’s GDP only grew 1.3 per cent last quarter year on year.
“Maybe next quarter, it could drop to zero or even a negative figure,” he said. “When it continues to be with a low dynamic, then you can’t expect too many workers will have a bonus next year.”
Despite a sluggish economy, Kwan did not expect lay-offs to happen soon, as both stock and property markets had slightly recovered over the past two months.
“Unless the situation of the two markets suddenly reverses a lot, there’s a very slim chance we’ll see lay-offs in the first two quarters of this year,” he said.