Lackluster growth in the banking and finance industry will see pay frozen or cut this year at more than half of firms, a survey by a human resources consultancy found.
Robert Half polled 150 businesses in the sector in November and December and half said their employees' salaries will remain the same, with 3 percent cutting salaries. Only 47 percent will offer a pay rise.
"International banks are badly hit by the US economic downturn and the European debt crisis," said Robert Half regional director Pallavi Anand.
The most promising jobs will be those in mainland-based firms, which are expected to continue recruiting professionals as they expand overseas.
"Risk and compliance professionals are still in demand, within the banking and financial sector," Anand said.
"They can expect a 10 to 25percent pay rise."
Tax and treasury specialists come second, with a 5 to 8percent rise, but finance and accounting specialists should not expect much.
"Companies are shifting less functional positions, like administration, to more economical locations in Southeast Asia, while keeping their strategic work desks in Hong Kong," she added.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management polled 220 companies from June to August last year.
It found 90.8percent of respondents are offering sick-leave pay of more than four days, at a rate of four-fifths of an employee's ordinary wage. CANDY CHAN