Data from Morgan McKinley has found renewed optimism for Hong Kong based contractors in terms of both contracts and pay levels. According to the Contract Job Data from the company the majority of contractors are securing long-term contracts while 20 per cent are now earning more than HK$60,000 per month – seven per cent more than in 2013.
The market analysis which compares contract duration, extensions and salary for Hong Kong based contractors across a range of disciplines found that, the majority (53 per cent) of contractors were being employed on one year contracts in 2014, compared to 29 per cent who were employed for the same duration in 2013. In contrast, the majority of contractors in 2013 (50 per cent) were employed for only three to six months. Alongside this contractors were more likely to be offered extensions (four per cent increase year-on-year), or permanent roles (six per cent increase year-on-year) in 2014 when compared with 2013. Salary remained steady for Hong Kong’s contractors with marginal differences from 2013 to 2014. However, there were a higher number of high earning contractors in 2014 than in 2013.
“Historically the contracting market in Hong Kong has always fared considerably behind the UK, Australia and the US in terms of its prevalence within many organisations,” says Nick Lambe, managing director, Morgan McKinley Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong, contractors have traditionally been regarded as emergency cover for straight forward tasks rather than highly skilled experts who can add value to projects or seasonal variations.
“This cultural difference also exists for professionals who have a preference for permanent employment and the employee benefits that this brings,” he continues. “Unlike working in the UK, there are no additional benefits available to contractors such as working under a limited company to reduce tax liabilities.”
From both their research and experience, McKinley say organisations are increasing salaries and benefits to make the propositions more attractive to contractors. At the same time the increasing number of higher paid contractors in 2014 can be attributed to more specialist projects and/or skills set being in demand in the market and thus the more experienced and higher salaried candidates being sought by employers.
“In terms of an outlook for 2015, we predict that the hiring of IT, finance, operations, projects, HR and office support contractors will continue to increase,” adds Lambe. “In addition, experienced Hong Kong professionals who find themselves job seeking in 2015 should consider the contracting route as we are seeing the majority of contract placements being offered permanent roles by their employer when their assignment is complete.”