| HONG KONG, June 23
HONG KONG, June 23 Large numbers of finance
professionals in Hong Kong have seen their pay jump between 20
and 40 percent in the past six months as competition for top
talent heats up, a study showed on Wednesday.
Average salaries across the Asia-Pacific financial sector,
which is the region's highest paymaster, have risen or remained
resilient in 2009/10 compared with the previous year, and
expectations for higher pay are on the rise.
The annual 2010/2011 salary guide released by Robert Half
International (RHI.N) surveyed about 3,500 finance professionals
in the region.
"It is the first salary increase since the downturn of the
job market," Andrew Morris, a director of Robert Half Hong Kong,
told a media briefing.
He said most financial services professional such as
investment bankers, retail bankers and hedge fund managers
expect their annual bonuses to jump this year.
"The bonuses are unlikely to match the pre-crisis level but
the expectations in some cases are that it could be as high as
six months salary," he added.
The hot Asia-Pacific job market means two of every three
employers surveyed were anxious about losing their best talent.
"Employers need to get onto the front foot and act fast to
retain top performers," Morris added.
He said most finance professionals in Hong Kong got a bonus
in 2009 despite the economic downturn, and over 80 percent
expect that they can get a bonus payout this year as well.
Many Wall Street banks and other investment firms have their
Asian head offices in Hong Kong, the region's financial hub.
"Especially when the recession is short in Hong Kong
compared to other countries, people's expectations are high.
They think they can earn 12 months bonus again," Morris said.
Almost half of Hong Kong employees are not happy with their
salaries and more than half believe they should switch jobs to
get better pay.
Experts in accounting, finance, compliance, operational
support and audit were in special demand, the survey revealed.
(Editing by Denny Thomas and Michael Shields)