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Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Old Jul 13th 2012, 1:13 pm
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Default Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Hello

I have been offered a position in Hong Kong (Kowloon) and I am currently researching HK living costs and salary expectations.

I am a UK professional and a Chartered Engineer. I will be engaged on a substantial public sector construction project and working for a European Engineering Consultancy as the 'boots on the ground' there.

I've looked into HK costs of living and accomodation costs are obviously significant and vary depending on type and position. I would require a 1 bedroom apartment for my wife and I in a reasonable location. I'm currently researching accomodation options but would welcome any guidance from forum members (or useful web links & publications etc).

I've also looked at some salary data for HK based on profession but I would welcome additional feedback from any forum members who can advise on typical salary packages at this stage.

Many thanks!
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Old Jul 13th 2012, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

I'm no longer up with the salaries but it is the overall remuneration package you must look at not just the salary alone.

A one bedroom flat is not sufficient for your position. It may be what you are happy with but don't accept that.
Flats are expensive and small in HK so a 3 bed is the min you should request.
And when they offer you the accom package make sure that they pay you the package and you can keep any difference between what they offer and what you spend.
Return business class tickets to your home country annually and again they pay you the cost of the tickets you keep what you don't spend.

Medical and dental for you and you wife, read the small print on this.

13 month bonus.

Discretionary annual bonus

Transport allowance or car plus petrol.

Can't remember what else off hand and this was 10 years ago. I know they have started 'local style' packages elsewhere and not sure about HK but try to get an ex pat package.

Oh, the longer the termination period with full pay the better.
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Old Jul 14th 2012, 2:17 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

It is impossible to advise on salary packages from the information you have given.
You could be a 25 year old recently chartered engineer with no previous overseas experience coming in as a resident engineer or you could be a 50 year old veteran coming in as Principal resident engineer. Your salary and benefits package will be vastly different depending on where you are on the scale.

If you are with a consultancy on a government project (is it one of the new MTR projects ?) then the consultants are usually paid on fixed government scales. You will most likely get a salary and a housing allowance but don't expect a 13th month salary. That particular benefit has long since been dispensed with for new contracts. It still exists but is now rare.

Without details on your housing allowance it is only possible to provide general advice on housing. One thing I would say is that HK is a relatively small place so don't be afraid to live out of town. The public transport system is second to none and if you have a car then you could pretty much live anywhere. However, in general the closer to town then the more expensive housing is.
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Old Jul 24th 2012, 8:23 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Originally Posted by hong_konger View Post
It is impossible to advise on salary packages from the information you have given.
You could be a 25 year old recently chartered engineer with no previous overseas experience coming in as a resident engineer or you could be a 50 year old veteran coming in as Principal resident engineer. Your salary and benefits package will be vastly different depending on where you are on the scale.

If you are with a consultancy on a government project (is it one of the new MTR projects ?) then the consultants are usually paid on fixed government scales. You will most likely get a salary and a housing allowance but don't expect a 13th month salary. That particular benefit has long since been dispensed with for new contracts. It still exists but is now rare.

Without details on your housing allowance it is only possible to provide general advice on housing. One thing I would say is that HK is a relatively small place so don't be afraid to live out of town. The public transport system is second to none and if you have a car then you could pretty much live anywhere. However, in general the closer to town then the more expensive housing is.
Thanks Konger. I'm coming in nearer the 50 year old end of the spectrum with 10 years+ overseas experience, mainly in the ME and Caribbean. I will be responsible for a small site team and primarily liason/on site design support with limited site supervision.

I'm not at liberty to disclose details but it is Government related. I understand from initial discussions that the total package will be around 800K HKD.

Last edited by Pariah; Jul 24th 2012 at 8:34 am.
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Old Jul 24th 2012, 9:00 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Originally Posted by Pariah View Post
Thanks Konger. I'm coming in nearer the 50 year old end of the spectrum with 10 years+ overseas experience, mainly in the ME and Caribbean. I will be responsible for a small site team and primarily liason/on site design support with limited site supervision.

I'm not at liberty to disclose details but it is Government related. I understand from initial discussions that the total package will be around 800K HKD.
That's much, much lower than 15 years ago.
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Old Jul 26th 2012, 3:30 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Times have changed. The super-generous expats packages of 20-30 years ago have been phased out for all but a fortunate few - mainly in the financial services sector I would guess.

A total package of around 800k sounds very much like a typical local package for someone with considerable experience. The assumption would be that a local is already buying or owns his/her own home and so the key element of the package for an expat, i.e., housing, doesn't figure. A one bedroom flat in a decent area is likely to be around 450-500 square feet and will run about HK$16,000-20,000 a month.

You haven't mentioned if there is an end-of-contract gratuity.

HK65,000 roughly a month is not a bad salary - and may be revised up by around 5% this year - but it will not provide for a lavish expat lifestyle. On the positive side though, taxes will be low, no VAT etc etc, local travel is relatively cheap and easy, and generally living expenses can be tailored to your income quite easily. A car is really not necessary - a small apartment is unlikely to come with a parking space included in the rental and you may be talking about HK$2,000-3,500 a month just to park at or near home then perhaps up to HK200 per day at your destination. Petrol is expensive but then distances are short. Living in the New Territories can reduce costs significantly but then for most ex-pats the preferred place to live is HK Island where housing costs in particular tend to be much higher.

Except for housing (and school fees if these apply to your case) Hong Kong is not that expensive in many respects.

Unless they possess extremely specialized skills/knowledge then I suspect that ex-pats do not have a great deal of bargaining power these days as there are many locals with experience including those who left pre-1997 and have returned after acquiring foreign citizenship.
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Old Jul 26th 2012, 10:46 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Thanks Pete, very informative and much appreciated.
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Old Jul 31st 2012, 9:11 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Just to add about housing is that being in the NT will give you more for your money in size/facilities/quality.
We live in a 2 bed flat 650sft so it is small like a 1 bedroom really and pay $12k pm, 30 minutes away from Central. One year ago we were paying 9.2k pm for a 3 bed 800sft flat, we were 45-60 minutes away from Central both flats had great clubhouse facilities and management.
People say the low tax in HK is just replaced by the high rents, well I think at least you can choose to live somewhere cheaper, you cannot 'choose' to pay lower tax but yes, will depend on your requirements and expectations.
We earn quite a bit less than $65k pm and are comfortable, although we are younger so maybe we have lower standards

Last edited by Supernoodles; Jul 31st 2012 at 9:14 am.
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Old Aug 7th 2012, 8:38 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Thanks Supernoodles, very helpful.
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Old Sep 17th 2012, 9:24 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

OK, looks like I'm heading to HK

Question from the wifey.. are flats gererally let furnished or unfurnished?

And one from me: Where are the best places for accomodtion listings (flats to rent etc)

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Pariah; Sep 17th 2012 at 9:28 am.
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Old Sep 17th 2012, 9:30 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Unfurnished.
If it is furnished, you will most likely be paying a premium for stuff that isn't to your tastes.
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Old Sep 17th 2012, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

You can look at stuff on midlands, squarefoot etc as a guide but DO NOT try to decide based on stuff you read/see on the internet.
You really have to come and decide for yourself once here, get a serviced apartment for 1st month.
Most people go to an estate agency in their area of choice (walk in appointments).
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Old Sep 17th 2012, 11:41 am
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Find the flat you want in the area you want.
If the furnishings etc aren't to your taste then negotiate about removing stuff or adding stuff.
The rental cost may change or you may want some stuff removed and then buy some stuff yourself that you want and take it with you when you leave.
Calculate which is the better deal.

From our time there Service apartments were on a par rentwise or below what our monthly rental package was.
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Old Oct 22nd 2012, 1:57 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

Well, I'm now in HK as of yesterday!



Got a serviced apartment in Happy Valley for one month. Will need to find somewhere in Kowloon that's handy for the West Kowloon area, where I will be working.
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Old Nov 11th 2012, 3:25 pm
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Default Re: Hong Kong Salary Expectations

What kind of price is a serviced apartment for a month?
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