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Survey results of 2010 Annual Earnings and Hours Survey released

Overall distribution of hourly wage

     According to the statistics released today (March 7) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the median hourly wage of employees in Hong Kong (excluding live-in domestic workers, employees in the Government, employers and self-employed persons) in the second quarter of 2010 was $59.5 , which was 1.7% higher than the median of $58.5 in the second quarter of 2009.

     In the second quarter of 2010, the 10th, 25th, 75th and 90th percentile hourly wages of Hong Kong employees were $28.1, $39.5, $96.7 and $176.0 respectively.

     By arranging the hourly wages of all employees from the smallest to the largest value, the median hourly wage is the hourly wage of the employee who ranks in the middle of all the employees concerned.  In other words, the median hourly wage is the hourly wage value that delineates the lowest 50% of all the employees concerned.

     Percentile hourly wage figures are useful in discerning the distribution of hourly wage of employees.  The pth percentile hourly wage is the hourly wage value which delineates the lowest p% of all the employees concerned, where p can be any integer value from 1 to 99.  For instance, the 10th percentile hourly wage is the hourly wage value that delineates the lowest 10% of the employees.  The 25th percentile, 50th percentile and 75th percentile hourly wages are also known as the lower quartile, median and upper quartile hourly wages respectively.

     There were 2 793 000 employees in the second quarter of 2010.  The overall hourly wage distribution of these employees is shown in Table 1.  The numbers of employees earning less than selected hourly wage levels are shown in Table 2.

Median hourly wage of employees with different characteristics

     In the second quarter of 2010, the median hourly wage for male employees was $65.1 while that for female employees was $54.4.  The median hourly wage of male employees was higher than that of female employees mainly because the proportion of male employees who had completed education at Secondary 6 and above level was higher than the corresponding proportion of female employees.

     Analysed by age group, the median hourly wage of employees at age 35 - 44 was the highest ($70.7), followed by employees at age 25 - 34 ($67.2).  The median hourly wage of employees at the youngest age group of 15 - 24 and the most senior age group of 55 and above were $40.7 and $43.7 respectively.  The median hourly wages of employees at different age groups were associated with the educational attainment of employees at the respective age groups, especially the proportion who had completed education at Secondary 6 and above level.

     Median hourly wage varied substantially across employees with different levels of educational attainment.  The median hourly wages of those at primary and below; Secondary 1 to 3; Secondary 4 to 5; and Secondary 6 and above were $34.6, $41.0, $55.6 and $103.0 respectively.

     The median hourly wage of employees working in elementary occupations was $32.4; that of service/shop sales workers was $36.9; that of craft and related workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers was $57.8; that of clerks was $54.5 and that of managers, administrators, professionals and associate professionals was $111.0.

     Among the various industry sections surveyed, median hourly wage was over $100 in the following industries: education and public administration (excluding the Government) ($134.4); electricity and gas supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities ($123.6); and financing and insurance ($108.0).

     During the same period, median hourly wage was less than $50 in the following industries: estate management, security and cleaning services ($28.5); restaurants ($33.7); miscellaneous activities (including elderly homes; laundry and dry cleaning services; hairdressing and other personal services; local courier services; and food processing and production) ($34.6); and retail trade ($40.5).

     The median hourly wages of employees of different sexes, age groups, educational attainment levels and occupational groups are given in Table 3.  The median hourly wage of employees analysed by industry section is given in Table 4.

Further information

     The above wage statistics were compiled based on the data obtained from the 2010 Annual Earnings and Hours Survey (AEHS).  The purpose of the survey is to provide comprehensive data on the level and distribution of wages, employment details and demographic profile of employees in Hong Kong.  These statistics are useful for studies on labour-related topics by the private sector and the Government.  They are also essential inputs for analyses related to the Statutory Minimum Wage.  A sample of about 10 000 business undertakings was selected for the survey in 2010.

     Wage is defined to include basic wage/salary, commission and tips not of gratuitous nature, guaranteed allowances and overtime payment paid to an employee in the survey period.  It does not cover bonuses and allowances of gratuitous nature, end of year payment and payments in kind.  Number of working hours is the sum of contractual/agreed working hours (excluding rest time and meal break if no work is done or to be done) and overtime (worked at the direction of employers) hours.  Hourly wage of an employee is derived by dividing the amount of wages paid by the number of working hours of the employee in the survey period.  

     Regarding the survey coverage, AEHS covers all business undertakings irrespective of their employment sizes and industries, except those engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing activities.  All employees of business undertakings falling within the scope of the survey who are under the protection of the Employment Ordinance are covered in the survey.  Employees in the Government, live-in domestic workers, employers and self-employed persons are excluded.

     Details of the wage statistics compiled from the 2010 AEHS and the survey methodology are given in the 2010 Report on Annual Earnings and Hours Survey.  The C&SD has recently conducted a review on the printing of statistical publications and has decided that the print version of the report will no longer be produced starting from this edition.  Nevertheless, the report is still available for downloading free of charge from the website of the C&SD at .

     Enquiries concerning the survey results of AEHS can be directed to the Wages and Labour Costs Statistics Section (2) of the C&SD at 2887 5230.

Ends/Monday, March 7, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:32


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