Human Resources & Corporate Services Salary Survey & Guide Hong Kong 2016

Human Resources & Corporate Services Salary Survey & Guide Hong Kong 2016

almost 3 years ago by Aquis Search

We are pleased to announce the publication of our Human Resources & Corporate Services Salary Survey & Guide Hong Kong 2016. Please click here to view the PDF version.


Aquis Search is delighted to present our annual Human Resources & Corporate Services Salary Survey for Hong Kong 2016. 

Our aim in producing these surveys is to provide guidance to clients and candidates on current compensation levels post end of year reviews and predict how the market will develop. Our information has been researched and collated with the help of our clients and candidates and from our knowledge of the marketplace.

As with all surveys, the ranges represent the mainstream view and there will be individual situations that fall outside the range published here. Please use this survey as a guide and do not hesitate to call for further clarification on the compensation trends in the market.


The Human Resources & Corporate Services team offers a wide range of services to clients seeking to fill permanent, contract and interim jobs in the following areas:

  • Human Resources
  • Company Secretarial
  • Paralegals and Legal Secretaries
  • Business Development and Marketing Professionals in Law Firms
  • Administration and Secretaries

At Aquis Search our Human Resources & Corporate Services desk understands that support functions are an integral part of our clients’ infrastructure and we continually strive to ensure the success of the industries we serve. We work on both temporary and permanent roles with our clients in the leading law firms, traditional industries and financial services sector throughout Asia.


Our clients across the private practice, financial institutions and the wider commerce market all have supporting staff including paralegals and legal executives for fee-earners in a wide range of legal matters and procedures.

In private practice, paralegals under corporate teams with a PRC background remain in high demand. Candidates who possess strong Mandarin and English skills have been, and continue to be, particularly valued due to market expansion in China. There was notable demand for paralegals supporting M&A work during the last two quarters of 2015, which is expected to continue throughout 2016. Most law firms are competing for candidates with 2-3 years’ experience. 

In the commerce market, we have noted a substantial increase in clients requiring mid-level in-house paralegals and legal executives, particularly those with 4-6 years’ experience. Sectors such as telecommunications and consumer retail have engaged more aggressive hiring activities by adding new headcount. We expect this to continue as we move towards the second half of 2016. 

Office Support 

Legal Executive and Secretary

In 2015 most legal secretary or secretary openings were replacement positions. We noted steady levels of hiring activity for junior to mid-level secretaries, supporting partners in daily administrative work and handling tight meeting schedules. 

Hiring within the financial sector slowed down last year as we saw a budget control over office support staff. Markets that have been contracting are expected to expand as some firms struggle to secure permanent headcount. This has created more opportunities for candidates who have been out of the market for a while. We have also seen cross-industry moves, where candidates have left the financial sector in favour of the general commercial market. Secretaries with proficiency in Mandarin are highly sought after as Hong Kong based businesses continue their expansion into China.

Legal Support

Business Development

With business development activities being centralised in Hong Kong and law firms expanding offices in the Greater China region, business development candidates have been particularly coveted, and competition for their skill set is fierce. Being the hub and originating point of business, law firms in Hong Kong are expanding their business development teams by making junior and midlevel hires whilst trying to retain seasoned professionals. To cope with business expansion, international law firms are also adding new headcount in their Shanghai and Beijing offices where legal professionals are in demand. This has created opportunities for candidates from other professional firms to gain exposure in the legal industry with new headcount often coming from the commerce and financial sectors.  

Company Secretary

Mid-level company secretary openings in 2015 were mostly seen in the finance industry and in listed companies, a trend we expect to continue this year. 

In private companies and law firms, we have seen less movement in the company secretary space, primarily because candidates are relatively stable and most companies don’t require a large team supporting this function. Candidates from the private sector are also more reluctant to join listed companies due to the perceived heavier workload and longer working hours. Within these companies, the company secretary function is often under the remit of the legal department. 

We have seen a few company secretary openings in major listed companies, but most are replacement roles. Usually candidates move around companies that are of similar nature, for example, real estate to property development and investment. Moving forward, we expect more company secretary openings in Chinese based companies or Chinese listed companies, where there is a need for professionals to undertake more stringent and increasingly prolific regulatory review and monitoring functions. Some companies may also require company secretaries possessing legal qualifications, where they can double hat in other legal functions. Professional qualifications are necessary for these positions, where most senior candidates are either chartered or members of HKICS.

Human Resources

2015 was a volatile year for mid-level human resources professionals. This has been consistent across industries in the legal and financial sectors. In the financial sectors, we have seen a significant demand in talent management and business partner functions. Financial institutions, especially the insurance companies, have understood that there is a greater need to attract and retain quality employees in order to maintain their competitive edge in the market. People retention has become a significant remit for those undertaking human resources functions. Most companies have been adopting the Business Partner approach over the past few years, where experienced human resources candidates are needed for strategic hiring and to advise on retention programs. This is more prominent within insurance companies as well as retail and commercial banks, where there is higher turnover among front office staff. 

Human resources hiring within law firms has been mostly replacement roles. Junior candidates are now able to pick up a wider scope and range of duties due to the more pronounced regional expansion of UK and US firms. For mid to senior level candidates, we have witnessed a trend of candidates moving from the financial sector into law firms.  

The HR discipline has long been a female-orientated profession and women account for the majority of its workforce. As a result we continue to see contract positions become available mainly due to maternity cover, although there is also a steady rise in the fixed term and interim management market in Asia in general. 

Salary Scales

As we move through 2016, we predict salaries will remain in line with levels seen in 2015 for the majority of human resources and support staff. We anticipate salary increments will be between 5% and 8% internally and we expect to see market rates of between 10% and 15% for a lateral move. Company secretaries are likely to see more generous salary increments of 15% to 20%. Bonuses are expected to be flat for 2016 and will continue to lie between 1 and 3 months.

Human Resources Professionals

HR Generalist Years of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
HR Officer/ Assistant1 - 3
140K - 260K
HR Associate/ Assistant Manager4 - 6300K - 420K
HR Manager7 - 10420K - 900K
HR Director/ Head11+960K+

HR SpecialistYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Learning & Development Assistant/ Officer1 - 3160K - 200K
Assistant Learning & Development Manager4 - 6230K - 280K
Learning & Development Manager7 - 9400K - 600K
(Regional) Head of Learning & Development10+700K+
Compensation and Benefits Assistant/ Officer1 - 3150K - 200K
Assistant Compensation and Benefits Manager4 - 6230K - 280K
Compensation and Benefits Manager7 - 9540K - 690K
(Regional) Head of Compensation and Benefits10+720K+
Recruitment Specialist/ In-House Recruiter (junior level)1 - 4180K - 360K
Talent Acquisition Specialist (Mid Level)5+420K+
HR Business Partner 7 - 10600K - 810K
Head of Talent Acquisition 10+1 Mn+

Legal Support/ Paralegal (With Legal Qualification)

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Junior Paralegal1 - 3130K - 340K
Paralegal/ Legal Executive4 - 8360K - 650K
Senior Paralegal9+680K+

Legal Support/ Paralegal (Without Legal Qualification)

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Junior Legal Executive/ Junior Legal Secretary1 - 3120K - 220K
Legal Executive/ Legal Secretary4 - 7240K - 320K
Senior Legal Executive / Senior Legal Secretary8+360K - 600K

Business Development (Private Practice)

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
BD Executive/Coordinator1 - 3220K - 480K
BD Manager4 - 7460K - 760K
Head of BD11+1 Mn+

Company Secretary

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Company Secretarial Officer1 - 3220K - 480K
Assistant Company Secretary4 - 7460K - 760K
Company Secretary11+1 Mn+

In-House Legal Support (With Legal Qualification)

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Junior Legal Secretary/ Junior Paralegal2 - 4160K - 240K
Legal Secretary/ Paralegal5 - 7320K - 520K
Senior Legal Secretary/ Senior Paralegal8+540K+

In-House Corporate Support (Without Legal Qualification)

PositionYears of ExperienceAnnual Salary (HKD)
Administrator1 -5120K-240K
Assistant Office Manager2 -5
Office Manager6 - 10
Secretary/ Executive Assistant (junior)1 - 3
Secretary/ Executive Assistant (Mid Level)4 - 8
Secretary/ Executive Assistant (Senior)9+500K+