6th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong economy has been hit hard by the pandemic over the past three years, with consecutive deficits and an overall economic contraction of 3.5% in 2022. The new government expects a comprehensive deficit of HKD 139.8 billion for this fiscal year. Civil servants have been particularly affected, having undergone two years of frozen salaries and a controversial 2.5% increase last year, which was criticised for being “out of touch with reality” by the business community. However, the government has recently approved a salary adjustment plan for civil servants, which was announced by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Ingrid Yeung.
According to Yeung, the plan was developed after considering six key factors related to salary adjustments. High-level and middle-level civil servants will receive salary adjustments according to the net indicators of the pay trend survey, while senior officials will follow the adjustment arrangements for high-level civil servants. Yeung also acknowledged that there have been deficits in the Hong Kong economy for the past two fiscal years, and that the salary adjustments are higher than the inflation rate. The government has indicated that it will seek to hear opinions from the Legislative Council before the Council recesses.
In general, the salary adjustments for civil servants are based on the results of the salary trend survey, with most middle and lower-level civil servants receiving consistent salary adjustments. The Pay Trend Survey Committee recently released this year’s survey results, with salary adjustments of 2.87% for high-level civil servants, 4.65% for middle-level civil servants, and 4.5% for low-level civil servants.
Last year’s survey results showed that low-level and middle-level civil servants received salary increases of 2.04% and 4.55%, respectively, while high-level civil servants received a salary increase of up to 7.26%, which was widely criticized for being “out of touch with reality.” Eventually, the government approved a uniform increase of 2.5% for all civil servants, which was still considered a “contrarian salary increase.” If the government approves this year’s survey results, it will be the second consecutive year of salary increases.
According to data, civil servants’ salaries have been frozen six times and reduced four times since 2000, all during times of economic crisis in Hong Kong.