Are you on a competitive base salary in Hong Kong? What factors influence your base salary? How much of an increment should you expect when moving to a new agency?
In this article, we answer these questions with our salary guide for agency recruiters in Hong Kong.
The salary ranges in this guide were gathered after working in the recruitment to recruitment industry in Hong Kong between 2016 to 2019. 2020 has seen a shift in salaries due to COVID-19 so we have decided not to account for this year in this guide, but we have commented on the pandemic’s impact at the end of this article.
Associate Recruitment Consultant (0 – 1 years of experience)
HKD $15,000 – 20,000 per month
Fresh grads are paid a salary between 15 – 18k whilst professionals with 0 – 1 years of experience in another industry transferring into recruitment can leverage a higher salary between 18 to 20k.
Recruitment Consultant (1 – 3 years of experience)
HKD $22,000 – 27,000 per month
Newly promoted recruitment consultants are paid between 22 – 25k whilst recruiters with a few additional years of experience are paid between 25 – 27k. Overall, the standard go-to salary for most agencies at this level of experience is 25k.
Senior Recruitment Consultant (2 – 5 years of experience)
HKD $27,000 – 33,000 per month
Newly promoted senior recruitment consultants are paid between 27 – 30k whilst recruiters with a few additional years of experience are paid between 30 – 33k. Overall, the standard go-to salary for most agencies at this level of experience is 30k.
Managing / Principal Recruitment Consultant (3 – 7 years of experience)
HKD $35,000 – 40,000 per month
Newly promoted managing/principal recruitment consultants are paid a salary around 35k whilst recruiters with a few additional years of experience are paid slightly higher at 40k.
Manager (5 – 10 years)
HKD $40,000 – 55,000 per month
Newly promoted managers are paid a salary between 40 to 45k whilst managers with a few additional years of experience or managers who are managing larger teams are paid between 50 to 55k.
Associate Director (7 – 13 years)
HKD $50,000 – 70,000 per month
Newly promoted associate directors are paid a salary between 50 – 60k whilst associate directors with a few additional years of experience, associate directors who are managing larger teams or associate directors with more P&L responsibility are paid between 60 – 70k.
Director (10 – 15 years)
HKD $60,000 – 85,000 per month
Newly promoted directors are paid a salary between 60 – 70k whilst directors with a few additional years of experience, directors who are managing substantially larger teams or directors with more P&L responsibility are paid between 70 – 85k.
Managing Director (12 + years)
HKD $80,000 – 125,000 + per month
Newly promoted managing directors are paid a salary between 80 – 90k whilst managing directors with a few additional years of experience, managing directors who are managing entire or regional offices or managing directors with regional P&L responsibility are paid between 100k – 125k and upwards.
Factors influencing salary ranges
The salary ranges above should provide a rough guide of the general market rate. There are certain factors that may affect your salary or cause outliers:
- Billings can highly affect salary ranges. For example, if you start developing and billing ahead of others, you will be promoted faster where you could be earning a much higher salary than someone with an equivalent amount of experience
- All agencies have a commission or bonus scheme that return earnings which vary vastly. If you have a lucrative scheme, as a trade-off, your base salary may be lower than the market rate
- Management responsibilities can increase salary. For example, the more recruiters a manager is managing, the more likely it is they will have a salary at the higher end of the range
- P&L responsibilities can increase a recruiter’s salary. For example, if a recruiter is at Associate Director level but managing a team as well as the entire office P&L, they could expect the higher end of the range
- Some agencies use different titles for the same level of experience. In this case, you can refer to the brackets containing the years of experience for each salary range
Typical salary increments
Typical salary increments we see when moving to a new agency are between 10 to 16%.
Achieving an increment above 16% is possible but can only be leveraged in a few select situations. Hypothetically:
- You have a solid track record of billing success in the same practice you will be joining with your new employer and you play a crucial part in the long-term vision of the business
- You have a rare skill set in a candidate-short market such as an experienced technology director of a contracting recruitment manager
Increments are not always guaranteed and matching your current salary does happen in these situations:
- You have changed your specialisation to a market you’re passionate about, your new employer is happy to make an investment in you but you require more time to become profitable
- You have relocated internationally, your new employer is happy to make an investment in you but you require more time to become profitable
- You have only recently joined your current firm (< 6 months) and have not managed to achieve your strive yet
- Your billings are not outstanding in your current firm but you have good potential in your new firm with your drive and motivation
- You’re moving jobs in adverse market conditions, your employer wants to make the hire but can only get budget approval for a matching or lower base
COVID-19 has impacted salaries across the Hong Kong market. During the circuit breaker, there were a number of firms who cut employee salaries by 10 – 20% to adjust to the decline in revenue.
For recruiters changing jobs, the salary increments mentioned above were challenging to secure. Between April to July, the limited offers that were made matched the candidate’s last drawn salary or in some cases offered a lower salary (with a custom commission scheme to adjust for lost income).
Today, there is still a level of caution when it comes to hiring but we have certainly seen an improvement. Salaries that are offered in today’s market are determined on a case-by-case basis. Firms that are performing well in less affected markets are able to offer salary increments to attract great talent in a cautious market.
All in all, a recruiter can always increase their earnings through commission but having an attractive base salary still plays an important part when it comes to securing great talent.
If you feel that you’re being underpaid, please feel free to reach out to me by connecting on LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested to know what the average billings of a recruiter in Hong Kong is? Find out here.
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