Britain in Hong Kong July-August 2021

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C O N T E N T S 02 CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE a letter from the Chamber Chairman to share updates on the Chamber's activities over the past two months 05 DIGITAL HEALTHCARE Rapid Adoption of Digital Technologies Spurs Transformation of the Healthcare Sector 10

GBA: TIME TO PUT PLANS INTO ACTION Hear what Daniel Chan, Head of Greater Bay Area, HSBC has to say about the opportunities the GBA has to offer 14 TRAVEL SMART


Virgin Atlantic is the first uk-based airline to introduce a digital health pass solution

BUSINESS ETHICS Dr. Wingco Lo, Chairman of the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Advisory Committee (BEDAC) shares his thoughts on the importance of sustaining an ethical business environment in Hong Kong

18 HK EXECUTIVE SALARY OUTLOOK 2021 Greater Bay Area opportunities and flexible work arrangements take centre stage as salary levels take a back seat in 2021 recruitment

CHAIRMAN'S MESSAGE Dear Members A warm welcome to this month’s BritCham Magazine. As I telegraphed in my last message this edition will be the first not to appear in print format as we move to a fully digital form of communication. It has taken us some time but we got there in the end. Summer has well and truly arrived in Hong Kong. With the mercury readings consistently over 30 degrees and humidity levels in the high 90’s, it was inevitable that the Hong Kong Observatory would be activating its rainstorm warnings at some point. The advent of a black rainstorm at the end of June took us all a little by surprise although the impact on the normal working day was minimal for most of us. The opportunity to opt-out and watch old DVD’s for a day from the comfort of our sitting rooms has been dealt a heavy blow. Covid-19 has seen to that. “Work From Home” is such an established routine today that we no longer have an excuse. Video conference calls and emails ensured that most of us worked through the black rainstorm like a normal day. The stars were also aligned for BritCham’s Greater Bay Area Summit on 17th June at the St Regis Hotel. Not only did the weather hold out but the social distancing restrictions around which we had planned the event did not change to our disadvantage and we were able to hold a hybrid event with some 120, mostly sponsors and speakers, in the hotel ballroom and over 400 participants joining us online.

The success of the event was a direct result of the contribution and knowledge-sharing of all our speakers, from the SAR Government and from the private sector. I said in my opening welcome that at the end of the day we would be the wiser and better informed for their participation. In my estimation, this was certainly the case. The Summit was also a success as a result of the indefatigable attention to detail of the BritCham Executive Team. They were all incredible – not only good-humoured on the day but hard-working in the run-up. The Chamber is really lucky. An event of this complexity and size for the Chamber is only possible with the strong support – moral and financial – of our sponsors. Without their early willingness to participate and continuous encouragement, we would never have succeeded in getting the Summit off the drawing board. I want to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors for their generosity once again. The Chamber is truly fortunate in our membership. The GBA Summit has also allowed us to reach beyond our immediate network and social media postings mean that we have a potentially whole new audience – not just for the Chamber but also for the GBA opportunity itself. We intend to tap into this and the team is already thinking about further smallerscale events with the opportunity to link up with our partners in Guangdong and Macao and also in the UK. Britain in Hong Kong



The Chief Executive of the SAR generously agreed to open the event with a keynote speech. I think this should be seen as a strong endorsement of the contribution and thought leadership which the Chamber has made on the GBA. As we waited for the event to start I turned to the Chief Executive and explained that we had managed to arrange a tremendous line-up of panellists and speakers for the day. “I know,” she responded. “I have seen that you have invited seven senior Government officials to ghghg

speak today!”. And of course, she was right.

In the time since my last message, we have come full circle on the quarantine requirements for UK arrivals in Hong Kong. In April the United Kingdom was designated a country of “Extremely High Risk” for the purposes of COVID quarantine arrangements – category A1. The designation moved to “Very High Risk” - or category A2 – and then to “High Risk” – or category B, all within the space of a little over one month. This has serious consequences for international businesses. In the Extremely High-Risk category no direct flights to Hong Kong are permitted. In the High-Risk category arriving passengers get credit for vaccination and as a result can reduce their hotel quarantine arrangements to one week only if they produce a positive antibody test, otherwise the period is two weeks. As most of you will know since 1st July the UK is now back in the Extremely High-Risk category.

blessed with an extremely strong and active Healthcare Committee and digital health has been a focus area for them for some time. We are planning an event around this subject for later in the year and I urge you to look out for the notices. I hope you enjoy this month’s magazine and if you do have any comments on the new format then please do let the Executive Team know.

Peter Burnett Chairman, The British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

For the Chamber and our members there are significant impacts, especially when the changes happen so quickly. It makes planning very difficult. The problem, it seems to me, lies on both sides – the UK has seen a rapidly rising number of new COVID cases with the Delta variant emerging as the latest scourge. Moreover, a significant number of imported cases in Hong Kong were arrivals from the UK. In Hong Kong, the Government does not want to let its guard down for as long as the vaccination levels in the community are low and is therefore doing all it can to stop the Delta variant from entering the community. We therefore face a conundrum. For those of us that have completed our vaccination programme this is very frustrating. We need to encourage the Hong Kong community to get vaccinated so that a relaxation in restrictions will be more feasible. And in the meantime, we must hope that the infection levels start to slow down in the UK as the high vaccination rate there has its expected impact. The theme of this month’s magazine is digital health. The pandemic of the last 18 months has focused attention on the supreme importance of good health and at the same time has forced all businesses to reconsider and reinvent their digitization strategies. Nothing could be more relevant for healthcare at this time therefore than this theme. At BritCham we are gg Britain in Hong Kong


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The past eighteen months have seen a digital surge, as awareness of online services turned to broader acceptance and ultimately to adoption. While healthcare services were very much part of the digital landscape prior to the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, COVID-19 undoubtedly fuelled their rise to prominence. This trend is validated by the Prudential Hong Kong Smart Health COVID-19 Study 2020, which showed a sharp increase in appetite for telemedicine services as a result of the pandemic. This was accompanied by a corresponding drop in the number of visits for medical services, such as dental, medical checks and physiotherapy. Respondents keen to use telemedicine services expressed interest in online appointment booking, virtual queuing, and payment (75%), delivery of prescribed medicine (69%), and COVID-19 testing (63%).

The use of telemedicine services is rising across Asia The value of virtual consultations as a quick, convenient, and inexpensive way to talk to a doctor became obvious during the pandemic, even in developed markets where access to healthcare is readily available. Such advantages are likely to be even more pronounced in less developed markets where the number of doctors per capita is much lower. For example, Cambodia has two doctors per 10,000 people and Indonesia has five, in contrast to China with 20 doctors and Singapore with 23.[1] In Asia, where 80% of the population do not have any insurance cover,[2] access to affordable healthcare via a mobile is a game changer. Giving customers greater access to healthcare services through Pulse by Prudential At Prudential, efforts to leverage digital technology to help customers take greater control of their health and wellness predate the pandemic. A case in point is Prudential’s exclusive partnership with Babylon Health, a UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) developer, to provide a suite of AI-powered health services. [1] WHO, [2] Prudential estimate. Prudential Corporation Asia 2020 full year results



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These services are integrated with Pulse by Prudential, an all-in-one digital health app designed to empower users to proactively manage their health. Pulse was launched in Hong Kong in 2020 with tools such as health risk assessment, symptom checker and telemedicine services made available to Prudential’s customers and the community. A shared vision to make healthcare accessible to all Digital healthcare offers the community a plethora of advantages in terms of accessibility, quality and affordability. In Hong Kong, there is a vision to make high-quality, accessible, and sustainable healthcare available to all. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the need and urgency for change and coming up with new ways to deliver medical services in a more flexible and modern manner. Meanwhile, market integration in the GuangdongHong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area creates an opportunity for Hong Kong to establish and lead a regional digital health ecosystem. The paper “Digital Health for Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area” by the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong outlines the vision, strategic objectives, priority focus areas and implementation principles for an effective digital health strategy, all key to navigating through challenges and achieving greater success. Looking forward Looking forward, as digital health technologies evolve, we hope to see more people taking greater control of their health and wellness goals, and for healthcare to be made more accessible and affordable to everyone. The pandemic has accelerated the rise of innovative health technologies. Healthcare services such as doctor consultations, medicine delivery, health records management, research information for selfhelp and payments will all increasingly be handled digitally.

About Prudential Hong Kong Limited Prudential has been serving the people of Hong Kong since 1964. Through Prudential Hong Kong Limited and Prudential General Insurance Hong Kong Limited, we provide a range of financial planning services and products including individual life insurance, investment-linked insurance, retirement solutions, health and medical protection, general insurance and employee benefits. Please visit information.



Derek Yung Chief Executive Officer Prudential Hong Kong Limited

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Further down the road, it is possible to envisage a time when health consultations and diagnostics will be handled in different time zones to reduce costs while enhancing accessibility and convenience.

These are only a few examples of the many ways health technologies have already begun to transform how we experience medical services. While progress made over the past few years has been substantial, these technologies retain the potential to open many more doors and usher in further change still.

THE GBA: TIME TO PUT PLANS INTO ACTION Rather than halting progress, the pandemic has helped to fast-track China’s economic development with the Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) expected to further its role as the important driver and Hong Kong the super-connector, linking the region’s cities to world markets - by Daniel Chan Opportunities like the GBA come around once in a generation. Even against the backdrop of the pandemic, the region has shown its potential for gggg

prosperity and as a driver for global growth. For multinational businesses that have been eyeing the emerging opportunities, it is no longer a question of ‘if’ to develop the GBA operations, but rather ‘how’ to take their plans forward.

From promise to reality Market confidence in the GBA has always been encouraging. In a survey 1 that we conducted with KPMG and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, of the 700 business executives interviewed across mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, over 80% of them expected the GBA to grow faster than the rest of China. Over half of the respondents also planned to expand their own businesses across the GBA cities by 2022. The pandemic has not dampened this outlook. China has already regained its pre-pandemic activity, showing encouraging growth momentum while leading the recovery for Asia 2. We are also seeing greater focus on the ‘dual circulation’ economic model which will provide opportunities for foreign companies in China to broaden their business operations. As these trends continue, the GBA has a vital role acting as the bridge to overseas markets offering great growth potential for businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world. Britain in Hong Kong


The bay area will become an even more significant facilitator of cross-border trade and capital flows, particularly as China has reached a number of trade agreements recently. This includes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which is set to shift the flow of global trade and enhance the connections between China, the rest of Asia and Europe, delivering increased activity for the GBA.

Hong Kong has an important role to play The global confidence in Hong Kong, as an entry point to tap into the opportunities in mainland China including the GBA, remains strong. According to a joint survey by Invest Hong Kong and the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong is home to some 9,025 international and Mainland companies, of which 1,504 use the city as a base for their regional headquarters. This is an increase of 10 percent and 6 percent over 2017 figures, respectively 3. With its leading financial services, transportation, trade, aviation, and professional services 4 , it serves as the ideal location to establish regional headquarters or treasury centres for multinational corporations. As the policies of the bay area are implemented and strategies are rolled out, Hong Kong’s role in facilitating the region’s internationalisation and economic growth will continue to grow. HSBC is the leading international bank in mainland China with a presence in all 21 prefecture level cities in Guangdong, a dominant position in Hong Kong and an unrivalled international footprint. This positions the bank to be the preferred financial partner regionally, and well positioned to support foreign businesses wanting to capture the opportunities in the GBA. Our International Subsidiary Banking (ISB) team can provide the connections to unlock the opportunities both regionally and globally.

Embracing opportunities As an area of strategic priority for HSBC, the GBA initiative is not new to us. We see it as the Pearl River Delta’s (PRD) next iteration, but one that is supercharged by growth factors as a result of improved connectivity, rising affluence and the emergence of an enhanced digital economy – from **

manufacturing to e-commerce, to smart cities. For businesses, the GBA has long held a range of opportunities – particularly for those specialising in infrastructure and manufacturing. But this is diversifying with the progress of technology, environmental and sustainable solutions, as well as the new opportunities for investment and financial services. By increasing connectivity, the GBA has also become an accessible and sizable region for products and services, presenting great opportunities for businesses with burgeoning middle class and consumption power. By various estimates, the GBA's GDP will grow to top US$4.6 trillion by 2030, presenting potential that international companies simply cannot miss5. Talent circulation and development will be a pivotal driver of this success and looking ahead, further policy coordination between the GBA cities to enhance the flow of talent is essential. Some of the initiatives that HSBC has been involved in reflects this diversification and the new areas of interest. These include the GBA+ Technology Fund, to help finance innovative companies that are driving the transformation of economy and developing innovative green financing products for businesses covering energy, construction, and transportation to reduce carbon emissions in the GBA.

Supporting services





We believe that the GBA is where the future of financial services is being written. To that end, HSBC is investing heavily in our digital infrastructure, cross-boundary product capabilities and talent pools. This includes taking big steps in serving the needs of our personal and business customers, and offering insight, foresight and unified banking solutions to cross-border customers. As a vibrant city, the GBA has strong demand for wealth management needs, driven by their fastgrowing wealth creation. There are 450,000 highnet-worth families with more than RMB6 million in investable assets across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. Their aggregate estimated investable assets have reached at least RMB2.7 trillion6. There is a growing trend for the affluent to diversify their gg* Britain in Hong Kong


investment from property to financial products outside China. We believe the upcoming Wealth Management Connect will significantly facilitate domestic investors to diversify their portfolio by accessing broader asset class and more international opportunities. Four in five surveyed mainland investors in the GBA said in our recent survey7 that they plan to invest in Hong Kong via the scheme. As the leading international bank in the GBA with strong wealth manufacturing capabilities, we are well-positioned to be among the first batch of banks to launch Wealth Management Connect, offering seamless journey with market-leading wealth solutions. Our business customers in the region benefit from the unified banking experience provided by HSBC’s ISB team. We are in a position to use our regional footprint to help firms expand their own presence in the GBA, as well as supporting our mainland Chinese business customers use Hong Kong as a springboard to go international, leveraging our network that covers 90% of global trade flows.

Daniel Chan Head of Greater Bay Area, HSBC

The Hongkong and Corporation Limited



The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories in its geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,959bn at 31 March 2021, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

By investing in these areas, we’re hoping to better connect people and businesses to nearby cities and markets. Many businesses are already playing a part in the future of the GBA, but this is just the start of the story. We are confident that many individuals and businesses will seize the opportunity, just like we’re doing at HSBC, to be part of this exciting journey. [1] [2] [3] id=4955 [4] [5] [6] Source: Hurun Report, 2020 [7]

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TRAVEL SMART VIRGIN ATLANTIC IS THE FIRST UKBASED AIRLINE TO INTRODUCE A DIGITAL HEALTH PASS SOLUTION Before the age of Covid-19, airlines already had digital transformation firmly on their radar, from online check in and automated bag drops to the latest biometric face recognition and Virtual Reality experiences. Investing in new technologies and online and app-based innovations were central to improving customer experience and performance, and staying competitive. As the world begins to reopen, the ability to easily provide evidence of our Covid-19 credentials - be that a negative test or vaccination – will be hugely important for the safe restart of international travel. As volumes of passengers gradually return to prepandemic levels, it's clear the key to more seamless travel lies in digital, contactless solutions that reduce the need to carry and verify paper travel documents. g In April, Virgin Atlantic was the first UK-based airline to trial one of the apps at the forefront of these solutions, the IATA Travel Pass, which offers a ‘onestop shop’ for customers to collect, store and verify documents on a secure smartphone app. Customers flying from Heathrow to Barbados were invited to download the app and create a secure digital ID linked to their passport details. After testing negative, they could store their PCR results locally on their phone (rather than any central database) and use it at the airport instead of paper checks, avoiding long queues at both ends of their journey. gg “Our innovative trial with the IATA Travel Pass and the Government of Barbados supports a smooth and streamlined experience, helping our customers to fly safe and well and navigate new travel requirements from the palm of their hands.”

Corneel Koster, chief customer and operating officer at Virgin Atlantic, said.

complete end-to-end travel testing bundle, tailored to their destination, via a dedicated microsite.

“When international travel restarts at scale; rapid, affordable testing and effective digital proof of Covid19 credentials based on global common standards will make journeys easier and provide greater confidence to book. We urge the UK Government to confirm that our customers can use digital apps and that these will be accepted at the UK border. The current paper-only-based processes will not be viable as customer numbers increase.”

Each bundle is centred around the UK Government’s risk-based travel traffic light system for arrivals to England, which is subject to regular review. Customers receive clear and detailed step-by-step guidance on the Prenetics web pages, and the results of the rapid antigen test are returned within 15 minutes. For PCR tests, customers send their sample via a return envelope to an accredited Prenetics lab and receive their results within 24 hours via email or notification on the website. They then get a “Fit to Fly” test certificate, that can be presented within the digital pass solutions Virgin Atlantic is trialling, or in paper format as a backup.

Senator the Hon. Lisa Cummins, Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transport said: “COVID has taught us many things about how we transact business and those lessons include the reality that disruptive digital technologies are transforming our travel and tourism industry. We have to embrace technology that not only deals with the integration of travel and public health priorities but we also have to transform the entire travel experience and our airport experiences." "With Covid-19 pre-departure testing requirements for international travel set to remain in place for now, in parallel to global vaccine distribution, the digital health technology gives clarity to customers to meet dynamically changing, route-specific travel restrictions and remove the guesswork to travel." Virgin Atlantic is also trialling a similar digital test and verification solution with TrustAssure for customers travelling to the US. Travellers can securely upload their Covid-19 test documents pre-flight via a mobileoptimised website, and have them validated using its robust Artificial Intelligence system in less than two minutes. Once confirmed, they receive a QR code with a green verification, allowing them to proceed quickly through check in. The technology has already proven extremely effective in trials by their joint venture partner Delta Air Lines, and both are rolling out a more integrated service powered by the TrustAssure platform this month.

“In parallel to the UK’s successful vaccination programme and accompanied by a risk-based, phased easing of restrictions, we can see a flightpath to soon allow the safe restart of international travel at scale. When the skies reopen, rapid, affordable testing combined with digital health integration will be vital to streamline and simplify the customer experience, make border health checks manageable and build consumer confidence. Governments, industry and technology companies need to work together to lead the adoption of digital solutions with global common standards that are accepted at borders.”


About Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 36 years ago with innovation and customer service at its core. In 2021, Virgin Atlantic was voted Britain’s only Global Five Star Airline by APEX for the fifth year running in the Official Airline Ratings. For more information visit or  or via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @virginatlantic @virginholidays. Britain in Hong Kong



Expanding on Virgin Atlantic’s existing testing partnerships, Prenetics [EMEA Ltd] (‘Prenetics’), a leading UK and Hong Kong health and diagnostics business, will now be Virgin Atlantic’s preferred athome testing provider, with customers able to order a

Virgin Atlantic say:

BUSINESS ETHICS IS THE KEY TO SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS DR. WINGCO LO, CHAIRMAN OF THE HONG KONG BUSINESS ETHICS DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE OF THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AGAINST CORRUPTION Dr. Wingco Lo, Chairman of the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Advisory Committee (BEDAC) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), shares his thoughts on the importance of sustaining an ethical business environment in Hong Kong and his experience in promoting good governance as the Chairman of the CMA Testing and Certification Laboratories (CMA Testing). What is the mission of the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre (HKBEDC)? Why is its work significant to the sustainable development of Hong Kong? HKBEDC was set up in 1995 under the auspices of the Community Relations Department of the ICAC with the aim to promote business and professional ethics in Hong Kong on a long-term basis. Its work is guided by the BEDAC, comprising representatives from ten major chambers of commerce including the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. With the concerted effort of HKBEDC and local business community throughout the years, Hong Kong now enjoys a level-playing business

environment and is widely recognised in many international surveys as one of the least corrupt and most competitive places globally. One example is the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2020 which ranked Hong Kong the 11th least corrupt place among 180 countries/territories. The clean and fair business environment has enhanced Hong Kong’s competitiveness as an international financial centre and a prime business hub that enables investors to tap into the multitude of business opportunities in China and neighbouring countries. Should business ethics give way to other priorities such as financial gain and business survival in the economic downturn that we are facing today? It is of vital importance for business organisations to strengthen their ethical governance in times of economic decline when financial difficulties could increase the incentive for unethical practices. Taking the testing industry as an example, I have come across incidents that clients might risk to bribe testing staff for their assistance in expediting the test procedures or even falsifying test results. These situations are not uncommon in adverse economic conditions where companies cannot afford financial losses due to delays or unfavourable test results. My experience is that strong ethical awareness of staff and high integrity standards of the company are the keys to mitigate these ethical risks. Business ethics is indeed a long term investment and a valuable asset for business organisations. It helps companies maintain their reputation, gain customers’ trust, build a strong ethical workforce and achieve sustainable business growth in the long run. Even at times of adversities, business leaders should not surrender the value of integrity and take the risk of engaging in unscrupulous business practices, which will sacrifice the reputation of the company or even cause legal ramifications. How can a business organisation strengthen its ethical governance? Any advice to business operators who cannot afford much resources in doing so? Depending on the nature, size and needs, business organisations can adopt different

measures to strengthen its ethical governance. Yet, the determination and commitment of the top management is pivotal in fostering an ethical culture in business organisations. Taking CMA Testing as an example, our top management firmly believes that integrity is the cornerstone of which our stakeholders' confidence could be built and shall not be in any way compromised. Noting that anti-bribery management has become the basic consideration for international and domestic bidding procurement, CMA Testing has established a robust anti-bribery management system according to the standard of ISO 37001 in 2018. The system not only helps us assess and monitor the possible ethical risks faced by the company, it also helps the company establish a culture of anti-bribery and integrity. In fact, companies may not need to invest much and yet the benefit of good governance can be very notable and long lasting. As a start, I think companies must spell out its ethical principles and behavioural standards in its code of conduct or internal guidelines. They must also set up a sound internal monitoring system and take decisive actions against non-compliant staff. Finally, companies should enhance the awareness of their staff on integrity issues as well as their knowledge on the relevant laws and regulations. To have a quick check-up on the performance of your company on the above aspects, I highly recommend business leaders to go through the Corporate Ethics Health Checklist developed by HKBEDC and approach the Centre for their free services. In what aspects does HKBEDC provide support to business organisations in strengthening their ethical governance? HKBEDC provides free corruption prevention services to business organisations of different trades and sectors. Their services include assisting organisations formulating and reviewing their company’s code of conduct, conducting integrity training for directors and staff, and providing advice on system controls. HKBEDC also maintains a dedicated website providing useful reference and training materials on corruption prevention and business ethics. The CMA Testing has indeed adopted ICAC services over the years in cultivating an ethical corporate gggg

culture and strengthening our governance. The various practical guides published by the ICAC also serve as good references for developing our own anti-bribery system and ethics promotion strategies. I heartily recommend their services to business organisations. As the new Chairman of BEDAC, how would you advise the ICAC on sustaining its ethics promotion work for the business sector? I am extremely proud of what HKBEDC has accomplished over the last 25 years and building on this momentum, I look forward to playing my role by offering advice and contributing new ideas to its work. On the way forward, I believe that HKBEDC should continue to enhance its collaboration with various professional bodies, trade associations and business organisations in its ethics promotion work for high risk sectors. To keep up with times in today’s digital world, HKBEDC may also adopt more vivid formats and explore new online platforms to widely disseminate its messages. I understand that HKBEDC will forge ahead an integrity promotion programme for the construction industry this year to enhance the corruption prevention awareness of construction practitioners. A new BEDC Channel which offers live-streamed training to different targets with integrity training needs has just been launched. These initiatives are definitely on the right track. Finally, I would also appeal for the continual support of your chamber and members to the work of HKBEDC in fortifying our clean business culture in Hong Kong.

About Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Centre (HKBEDC) HKBEDC was established under the auspices of the Community Relations Department of the ICAC in May 1995. It has a firm belief that maintaining high ethical standard in business is the best defence against corruption, and by doing so helps to sustain an open, clean and fair business environment in Hong Kong. The work of HKBEDC was steered by the Hong Kong Business Ethics Development Advisory Committee which comprises representatives of the ICAC and ten major chambers of commerce. Britain in Hong Kong



After a year impacted by Covid-19 and the resultant economic downturn, the outlook for headcount, salaries and bonuses among employers has changed. Factors such as job security and flexible work arrangements have become more significant for employees, with salary levels becoming less so. There is also an increase in the willingness of Hong Kong people to relocate to other Greater Bay Area (GBA) cities for work. Key sectors in Hong Kong leading the recruitment market in terms of positive headcount expectation are real estate and financial services. Earlier this year, we conducted our fifth annual Executive Salary Outlook survey, collecting views from business executives to take a measure of the employment market and trends following almost 12 months of meeting the challenges created by the pandemic. Indicating the continuation of a growing trend, and with a robust development plan in place for cities cross the GBA, two thirds of Hong Kong respondents are willing to make the shift. For the second year in a row, non-monetary factors were the top three reasons to relocate: better prospects, travel convenience and broader work exposure. The sectors that most respondents continue to predict ggg

will create the most job opportunities in the GBA are innovation and technology (63%), financial services (37%) and professional and consulting services (33%). The outlook for headcount among businesses in Hong Kong has changed from last year and varies across different sectors. The differences are significant at times. Real estate marked a sharp turnaround this year with respondents in the sector showing the most optimism (headcount expectations improved by 31% year-on-year). At the same time, a positive outlook among respondents in the financial services sector on headcount (net growth of 17%) reflects the strong levels of activity over last year, particularly in the IPO market. By comparison, although Hong Kong's consumer sector headcount outlook improved in this year's survey on the back of signs of recovery in the first quarter (a net 13% decrease in 2021 as compared with a net 26% decrease in 2020), the results suggest continuing challenges. Another change this year is in the more significant drivers for seeking new roles. Given the current economic uncertainty, employees are focused more on stability and work pressure than career progression. Britain in Hong Kong


"Only 43% of respondents anticipated salary increases compared with 60% who held similar expectations at the start of 2020." Interest in job security has increased among senior manager or manager level talent, with 26% of Hong Kong respondents in 2021 naming this as a key factor in initiating job searches compared to 19% in 2020. There was also an increase in the emphasis placed on workload and work pressure by department heads or equivalent (24% in 2021 compared to 12% in 2020). Organizations can enhance recruitment and retention by embracing flexible work arrangements, as these are quickly becoming a common expectation and even a preference. The type of flexibility that these options provide can make potential roles more attractive when recruiting. Predictably, fewer people changed jobs over the past year. At the same time, salaries flattened out. Pay rises were both fewer and, on average, significantly gg

lower than the expectations indicated in last year's survey (which was taken prior to the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic). Only 43% of respondents anticipated salary increases compared with 60% who held similar expectations at the start of 2020.

Given the economic climate, it is perhaps not surprising that fewer bonuses were paid out and those bonuses tended to be more modest than the previous year. Only 64% of respondents reported receiving a bonus, a considerable drop from 84% in the 2019 survey.

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The average bonus fell from 2.23 months in 2019 to 1.83 months in 2020. One notable exception was the financial services sector, in which fewer respondents received bonuses (76% of respondents in 2020, 84% in 2019) but their level was maintained with overall bonuses paid higher than the previous year (2.83 months in 2020 compared to 2.63 months in 2019). Respondents expect the current level of bonuses to carry into this year, with the outlook for the year ahead more conservative than this time last year. Most respondents (71%) expect similar or lower levels of bonus in 2021 compared with 2020. g Generally, employers have tightened their headcount and salary budgets through a number of approaches such as sharing the workload among team members rather than hiring new people. Employers are also more open to hiring less experienced candidates to take on similar roles rather than increasing the pay range for specific positions when making new hires. There is an increasing trend towards differentiating variable pay with the changing market in the financial sector, which keeps pay ranges stable.

About KPMG KPMG is a global organisation of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. KPMG member firms and its affiliates operating in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau are collectively referred to as “KPMG China”. KPMG Executive Search and Recruitment services under KPMG People Services provides search and recruitment services with insights on human resources and market developments. Murray Sarelius, Partner, Head of People Services, KPMG China

Michelle Hui, Director, Executive Search and Recruitment Services, KPMG China

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