Wednesday 15 June 2011

Rich Poor Gap Mentality

The local media reports all seemed to be positive about the fact that junior civil servants are to get a pay rise of 6.16%. Are the media also blind and ignorant of the fact that the middle and senior civil servants are getting 6.16% and 7.24%, respectively?

In absolute monetary terms since junior staff receive relatively lower salaries, their actual pay increase is less than their superiors in the government. And everyone appears to be happy? How absurd? Why is everyone so selfish?

The rich keep on getting richer, while the poor become poorer.

Reference: Junior civil servants to get bigger pay rises (SCMP; paywall)
Despite salary survey results, wage increases for lower grades to match that of middle-ranked workers
Martin Wong
Jun 08, 2011

Lower ranked government workers in Hong Kong's 160,000-strong civil service are to get a bigger pay rise than they initially thought.

Instead of receiving a pay rise of 5.16 per cent as expected, junior government staff will get 6.16 per cent more, the same as middle-ranking civil servants, the Civil Service Bureau said yesterday after the Executive Council endorsed the pay rise.

The 5.16 per cent figure had been suggested by the annual pay trends survey, on which civil service pay rises are based. But the chief executive and Executive Council decided to invoke a "bring-up" arrangement, under which staff on lower pay grades see their wage rises match those of better-paid staff.

"Under the `bring-up' arrangement, the pay adjustment rate for civil servants in the lower salary band may, subject to the decision of the Chief Executive in Council, be brought up to the net pay trend indicators for the middle salary band," a bureau spokesman said.

The bureau said the pay offers were based on the pay trend survey, the local economy, cost of living, the government's fiscal position, pay claims and morale of civil servants.

The pay trend survey involves 116 private organisations, each with at least 50 staff.

A 7.24 per cent wage rise will be offered to civil servants in the upper salary band, in line with the survey.

Eddie Ng Hak-kim, a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management's executive council, said the civil service pay rise would not affect private sector pay.

"The private sector will only consider its own business environment, competiveness and prospects when determining wage increases," he said. Many workers in the private sector received a generous pay rise last year, reflected mostly in the year-end bonus.

He was, however, concerned about the pay rise for junior staff.

"The wages of junior staff in the government is already way higher than that of those in the private sector. The gap is growing even bigger now," he said.

The Federation of Civil Service Unions, which is mainly made up of rank-and-file civil servants, welcomed the wage increase.

"It will be a huge boost to civil service morale," said its chief executive, Leung Chau-ting. "With present inflation at about 4 per cent, such an increase can really help to improve our quality of life."


  1. I understand that economic disparities are called "meritocracy", "market economy" or something like that. Presumably justified by l-o-n-g tradition & Pope, since the Bible said: "the poor ye shall always have with you..."

  2. aimlesswanderer17 June 2011 at 22:13

    I'd love to know how exactly they benchmark their salaries to the private sector. I wonder who does that "research"? Would anyone be surprised if there was some sort of link between someone(s) high up in government and the research company?

    And talk about creating a cycle of increasing wages at the top, with both sides upping pay in response to each other's increases. The private sector would have to pay some attention to their 'competitors' for the top talent, they just have to pay from the company's money, not tax payers (though the wealthy and companies pay all the tax).

    Inflation of 4% is fairly high, they better make sure that cost of living issues for the vast numbers of poor don't become too acute. Or hope that there isn't some ridiculously inappropriate display from the mega wealthy.

  3. Civil servants live in a different reality. They know very little about the ordinary citizen. For instance, the financial secretary decreed that he would pay everyone in Hong Kong HKD6,000 (about 750 dollars, Aussie or US). First, not everyone needs (or is deserving of this handout) and second, he hasn’t worked out how to hand out this money to everyone. It’s a silly idea and the money could be spent in a more constructive way for the Hong Kong community.

  4. aimlesswanderer22 June 2011 at 20:45

    Bureaucrats all around the world are often a bit 'different'.

    I wonder if he wants to be Top Dog, and is starting his campaign (though the public are not allowed to do radical things like vote). Hello bribery! Sounds good too, did he get lots of media attention?

    Can I turn up there for a holiday and wait in line for my cash? I look passably Hongky.