Surging salaries in Hong Kong outpace cities in Guangdong province

High salary growth in Hong Kong is sparking turnover concerns and is foreshadowing a competitive year ahead for many organisations.
By: | October 24, 2023

The overall actual salary increase in Hong Kong for the period spanning July 2022 to June 2023 ranged from 3.2% to 3.8%, marking the highest salary increment among cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). However, the city also saw a high turnover rate, primarily driven by career advancement prospects, pay and emigration.

The projected salary increase for 2024 is expected to vary from 3.5% to 3.8%, according to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Pay and Benefits Survey 2023 by the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development (CHRSD) of the HKBU School of Business.

For the Guangdong cities, 112,020 employees from 184 organisations indicated an overall actual salary increase in 2023 ranging from 2% to 2.2% for the same period, with the projected salary increase for 2024 remaining within the range of 2.8% to 2.9%.

Dr Felix Yip, Associate Director of the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development (CHRSD), said, “Hong Kong’s current unemployment rate is 2.8%, which is very low, so it supports a relatively high pay increase, and people will easily be attracted to change jobs or switch industries. The average salary increment in Mainland cities has always been higher than in Hong Kong, but we are seeing a turning point this year due to rising costs of living and labour.”

READ MORE: Income disparity hits record high in Hong Kong

Addressing Hong Kong’s competitiveness in attracting talent within the GBA, Prof Xu Huang, Director of CHRSD and Associate Dean of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) School of Business, highlighted the city’s high labour costs compared to neighbouring Shenzhen.  “So, if Hong Kong is struggling with a talent crunch even with high labour costs, this means that Hong Kong businesses are very competitive and resilient,” Xu said.