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After a year deeply impacted by COVID-19 and the significant economic downturn caused by the resultant lockdowns, business stoppages and border closures, the outlook for headcount, salaries and bonuses among employers has changed. Factors such as job security and flexible work arrangements have become more significant for talent, with salary levels becoming less so. However, at the beginning of 2021, a new sense of optimism was returning to most industry sectors in Hong Kong.

KPMG’s fifth annual Hong Kong Executive Salary Outlook analyses a survey of 702 business executives in six industry sectors to take a measure of the employment market and trends following almost 12 months of meeting the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sectors covered include consumer markets, financial services, innovation and technology, professional services, public sector and real estate.

The findings suggest that talent risk remains a significant concern across sectors. Organisations may enhance recruitment and retention by embracing flexible work arrangements, as these arrangements are quickly becoming a common expectation. Going forward, a major challenge for human resource (HR) and operations teams will be how to most effectively bridge the gap between the desire to work remotely and the perception among senior management of a possible negative impact on productivity.