Chinese employers bullish on hiring over next 12 months, survey finds

The employment market in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland is expected to be bullish this year, with a new survey showing that more than 50 per cent of employers plan to hire new staff over the next 12 months.

And an overall shortage of talent is creating upward pressure on salaries, according to the "2015 Greater China Salary & Employment Outlook" released by recruitment consultancy Michael Page, part of PageGroup.

"2015 is a positive one," said Anthony Thompson, PageGroup's regional managing director, Greater China and Southeast Asia. "Salaries will go up due to market forces."

He said he expected a "winner take all" battle between employers for talented professionals.

The survey incorporates the findings of an online survey of more than 2,000 employers across the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

On the mainland, 53 per cent of enterprises plan to raise headcount in the coming year, compared with 51 per cent in Hong Kong and 63 per cent in Taiwan.

The strong demand for talented professionals prompted mainlanders to have the greatest expectations of salary increases.

"Rises of 6 per cent to 10 per cent were expected by 61 per cent of the employer respondents," Thompson said. "In fact, larger increases are likely, dependent on the region and industry."

In Hong Kong, 65 per cent of employers expected to award rises of 1 per cent to 5 per cent, with Thompson saying the slower pace of increase reflected the fact that Hong Kong was a more mature market than the mainland.

Those who switched jobs on the mainland could expect a pay increase in the vicinity of 15 per cent to 20 per cent plus, against 10 per cent to 15 per cent in Hong Kong and Taiwan, he said.

Technology and e-commerce were among the hottest areas, while 43 per cent of banking sector employers said they were expecting to pay bonuses that were 11 per cent to 20 per cent bigger.

A separate survey by consultancy Mercer found about 60 per cent of firms expected annual incentive or bonus levels this year would be similar to last year. Just 20 per cent expected increases.