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return to the office

Hong Kong employees want pay rise before returning to office

25% indicated their intention to seek a new employer if required to return to the onsite location

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14% of respondents were willing to return to the office at their current pay rate.
Japanese employees have already gona back to a five-day office workweek.
Employers scaling back on flexible work options might face challenges in retaining their workforce.

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According to a recent survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, over 25% of workers in Hong Kong would seek a salary increase if mandated to resume full-time office work. Out of 350 respondents, 27% expressed their intent to negotiate for higher pay if required to return to the office for a five-day workweek. The survey highlighted that a significant portion of these individuals (the majority) aimed for a salary increase of six percent or more.

In contrast, a mere 14% of respondents were willing to return to the office at their current pay rate. Approximately 24% indicated their preference for seeking alternative employment with flexible work arrangements, as reported by Bloomberg. Among these, 10% were open to accepting a reduced salary in exchange for flexibility, while 14% were willing to maintain their current pay rate in a new employment setting.

Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst Patrick Wong emphasised that employers scaling back on flexible work options might face challenges in retaining their workforce. Interestingly, 36% of respondents in the survey revealed that they were already operating under traditional office arrangements, working in the office five days a week.

20% of employees would request a salary increase if compelled to return to the office full time

In a parallel survey conducted in Japan by Bloomberg Intelligence, it was discovered that 20% of employees would request a salary increase if compelled to return to the office full time. Another 28% expressed their willingness to stay with their current employer at the existing pay rate, while 16% intended to seek employment elsewhere with flexible work options. Similar to Hong Kong, the majority of Japanese employees (36%) had already transitioned back to a five-day office workweek.

The survey findings underscore the challenges posed by the ongoing push for a widespread return to the office by executives in recent years. This push has led to internal tensions within organisations, as employees strive to maintain the flexible work arrangements adopted during the pandemic. Instances of employees leaving their jobs due to a return to the workplace were noted during the pandemic, with some individuals even accepting pay cuts to continue working remotely.

A separate survey from Morgan McKinley’s 2024 Salary Guide in Australia revealed that 47% of employees would forgo a pay raise in exchange for flexible work arrangements. Employers in Australia acknowledged the need for trade-offs, such as reduced salaries, to retain flexibility in the workplace.

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