With a sluggish Chinese economy, salary increments are likely to remain static as the trend of uncertainty in Hong Kong continues, according to the findings from Morgan McKinley’s 2017 Salary Guide.

Corporations are cautious with headcount budgets, and replacement hires represented the majority of recruitment activity last year.

However, the outlook remains good for certain sectors – regulatory, compliance, innovation, digital marketing and technology – professionals with skills in these areas are still highly sought after.

Employment figures for change management professionals, cyber security experts as well as advance network and infrastructure specialists are encouraging. To remain competitive, technology insurance and asset management firms are driving significant demand for advanced developers and technical project foundation.

Basic salary levels have remained largely stable throughout 2016 across front office jobs and it is expected to stay unchanged this year. Some corporate banks, particularly those who have high staff attrition, are making efforts to match their base salary with competitors but this is far from the norm.

The findings also suggest a positive outlook for executive assistants and office managers who demonstrate a high proficiency in English and conversational Chinese.

In the HR sector, there is a demand in talent with change management, HR transformation, international exposure and overseas office set-up experience. Despite a decline in regional roles within MNCs with some companies relocating their regional offices to Singapore and Shanghai, there has been an increase in China-based firms acquiring businesses globally and using Hong Kong as their headquarters, creating strategic HR opportunities with a regional and global remit.