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Salary Report 2015Q4: Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong

QUICK SALARY FACTS

Typical Total Salary Package Earned by Quantity Surveyors in Hong Kong:

  • Assistant Quantity Surveyor in Hong Kong: HK$15,000 – HK$25,000 p/m
  • Quantity Surveyor in Hong Kong: HK$30,000 p/m
  • Project Quantity Surveyor in Hong Kong: HK$35,000 – HK$45,000 p/m
  • Senior Quantity Surveyor in Hong Kong: HK$45,000 – 65,000 p/m
  • Managing Quantity Surveyor in Hong Kong: HK$70,000 p/m +
  • Assistant Commercial Manager in Hong Kong: HK$75,000 – HK$85,000 p/m
  • Commercial Manager in Hong Kong: HK$100,000 – HK$150,000 p/m

On Average How Much More Money Can be Earned Compared to the UK?

You may get a slight increase on your salary compared to that in the UK but this will not be a substantial increase. However, after tax earnings will be increased significantly due to the much lower income tax rate in Hong Kong of 2% - 17%, with further tax benefits applied for married couples and couples with children. 

You will also be more likely to receive a generous yearly bonus in Hong Kong with an average bonus being equivalent to 1 – 2 months’ salary. Some companies offer a guaranteed “13 month” bonus whereas others are discretionary, however more often than not you will receive a bonus payment every year.

Experience Range that is in Most Demand:

Due to the large size of many Hong Kong projects site based teams often consist of a large commercial team, the commercial team typically requires the highest number of staff at middle management level, this includes Project Quantity and Senior Quantity Surveyor level candidates usually with around 5 – 15 years’ experience.

Applications for the position of Commercial Manager are not in as much demand due to the fact that typically you will have 1 Commercial Manager per project who is supported by an Assistant Commercial Manager or Managing Quantity Surveyor. Many of these roles will be filled through internal transfer or local hire.

Is Being Chartered Advantageous?

Yes. As a general rule, the more professional qualifications and certifications you have as an applicant the better. Although having hands on experience is important, most companies will have internal pay grade scales which are used to determine the salary and job title of employees, these scales often include the requirement for professional Charterships/Qualifications in order to attain a certain pay level. Being Chartered can allow you to negotiate a higher salary.

Typically, is the Tax Rate Higher, the Same, Lower or Much Lower in Hong kong than in the UK?

Lower. Income tax in Hong Kong is rated on a variable scale from 2% to 17%. See Tax Rates of Salaries Tax & Personal Assessment for further details.

Q&A

Q1 What are the factors affecting the salaries that can be secured in Hong Kong for a Quantity Surveyor?

Qualifications: The more the better. Usually having more industry relevant qualifications or recognised chartered status will allow you to achieve a higher salary.

Experience: It is unlikely Hong Kong construction companies will hire candidates with little or no post Graduate work experience. It is also more likely they will look favorably at candidates who have previous overseas experience, ideally in Hong Kong or other Asia locations.

Working hours: As a Quantity Surveyor working in Hong Kong there are typically 2 different sets of working hours you will fall into. CONTRACTING: Typically 5.5 or 6 day week with work required on Saturday (full or half day), usually on a rotational basis of alternative Saturdays. CONSULTANCY/CLIENT SITE: Typically you can expect a 5 day working week, however some may still require some Saturday working or overtime when business dictates.

Q2 Typically, how do bonus arrangements work?

13 month salary: Some Hong Kong companies will offer what is called a “13 month salary”, this basically means a guaranteed bonus of 1 months extra salary within a 12 month period irrelevant of project/company performance.

Discretionary bonus: Often assessed on a number of factors including, project performance, individual performance or company performance. Typically payments can range from 0.5 months bonus up to 3 months bonus in some circumstances.

Q3 Are the best salaries being offered on the client side or the contracting section of the construction industry in Hong Kong?

Typically contracting requires longer working hours than client side roles, and this is often reflected is higher salaries. Contractors will typically offer a basic salary and a site allowance which make up the salary package.

However, this can vary from company to company and salaries with both contracting and client side companies are very competitive.

Q4 What type of project experience is paying the best salary at the current time in this location?

E&M (electrical and mechanical) experienced Quantity Surveyors are in high demand in Hong Kong and there is a lack of suitability skilled candidates to satisfy the need locally. Having relevant skills/knowledge in this field may allow you to negotiate an above market rate salary due to the lack of candidates available. However large scale project experience of any type (build or civil) is highly regarded.

Q5 Does being bilingual improve earning power in this location?

Being fluent in Cantonese is a significant advantage if looking to secure a role in Hong Kong, it will allow to communicate effectively with other locally bases staff and colleagues, and it will no doubt make some of your day to day task that much easier.

However, this does not mean companies will be willing to pay a premium for this skill and generally you can still expect to be paid on the same level as another expat candidate with no Cantonese skills.

Q6 What type of previous experience and CV will get me the best salary offer?

  • Previous overseas experience, ideally in Hong Kong or other Asia locations.
  • Working for recognised international construction companies with strong reputations
  • Stable work history showing loyalty to previous employers
  • Proven track record of seeing projects through to completion
  • Clear concise CV with the use of bullet points to highlight project types/values
  • Try to keep long overdrawn paragraphs to a minimum, most hiring managers will be inundated with CVs and often won’t spend more than a minute “skimming” a CV before making a judgement. Make their job easier by highlighting key facts.

Q7 What factors will reduce my salary offer and employability?

Short periods of employment: a CV with 10 employers in 10 years will not hold as much creditability as a CV with 2 employers in 10 years. Employing a candidate from overseas includes a certain amount of risk for the employer and they will want reassurance that whoever they employer will not leave after a few months, by showing a stable work history on your CV this will help give them that assurance. If you’ve had short periods of employment due to contract based roles make sure you highlight this fact on your CV.

Lack of local market/culture knowledge: employers will be looking for someone who is genuinely interested in working/living in Hong Kong and not necessarily just chasing money and who may leave whenever the next highest offer comes their way. Doing research into the country, culture and current live construction projects will help add creditability to your application when engaging in any interviews.

Q8 Will proven management experience increase my salary and employability?

Yes. Having proven management experience helps demonstrate your communication, leadership and motivational skills, and will increase your chances of gaining a role with staff management responsibilities, these positions will usually command a higher salary level.

 

To discuss the possibility of working in Hong Kong in a Quantity Surveying, Commercial Management or claims role, please submit your CV here or send direct to tim@maximrecruitment.com with an overview of your preferences.

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