You are here

Employees still seek high salary increases despite fluctuating conditions in China: Survey

  • Michael Page survey finds that 36% of mainland China employees rate job opportunities as good and very good, while 44% describe them as average
  • 75% say it is likely or very likely they will change jobs in the next 12 months
  • 38% would consider a move to a 2nd or 3rd tier city; 48% of them cite work-life balance as the main driver for this
  • Lack of career progression (63%) and need for a new challenge (52%) are driving intent to switch positions
  • 67% of employees are expecting a pay rise above 11% from their current pay


Beijing, 27 January 2016 – Employees in mainland China have expressed positive intent and expectations toward their career prospects in the 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions Report released today.

More than a third (36%) of surveyed professionals in mainland China rated the job market between good and very good, in spite of continued discussion globally of China’s slowing growth.

Andy Bentote, Senior Managing Director, Hong Kong, Southern China and Taiwan says, “Whilst there is a perception in the media that China’s economy is in crisis, from what we’re seeing it’s very much a shift in focus rather than an economic crash, and we see positive activity across many sectors.”

The majority (75%) of professionals surveyed said they are likely or very likely to change jobs in the next 12 months, with 94% of them expecting a pay rise when they do so. 33% of these employees are expecting a salary increase above 21% from a change of jobs, revealing a high level of optimism.

Employees also have bullish expectations when it comes to salary increases from their current jobs with a significant 67% of respondents expecting pay rises above 11%. Findings suggest employee expectations may sit at odds with what employers will be prepared to pay. In the 2015 Michael Page Greater China Salary & Employment Outlook, an overwhelming 82% of more than 2,000 employers said they will only offer up to 10% in salary increases.

Richard King, Senior Managing Director, North and Eastern China said, “Demand for qualified talent and technical specialists is outstripping supply and, consequently, expectations of professionals remain generally high. Additionally, past experience can be a driver of future expectations for Chinese employees and it is unsurprising to see that many expect higher increases. Many employers have reined in salary increases in a difficult economy, but they need to take note from both an attraction and retention perspective.”

The report also took the opportunity to ask professionals about their feelings toward joining Chinese employer brands. With 80% of respondents stating they would consider working for a Chinese company, the results show how increasingly competitive these companies have become with their Employer Value Proposition (EVP).

The 2016 Michael Page Greater China Employee Intentions Report is based on the qualitative survey findings of 1,733 employees working across a range of professional sectors in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The scope of the report includes key insights into employee preferences around attraction and retention initiatives, salary expectations, benefits and views on the predicted employment outlook.

The mainland China version of the full report can be downloaded here.