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August 5, 2009

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Mainland pay still escalates, but pace ebbs

THE salaries of workers on Chinese mainland continued to expand this year - even in the face of the global economic downturn. But the rate of growth fell almost by half compared with 2008's full-year figure, according to a survey released yesterday by a major human resource company.

The average pay raise on the Chinese mainland amounted to 7.8 percent in the first half of this year, a sharp decline from the 13.8 percent growth posted for all of last year, according to the report on Zhaopin Ltd's Website.

"Salary increases climbed at an accelerating pace over the past three years, but this year they cooled to a three-year low due to the economic crisis," said Zhao Lipeng, an analyst with the Beijing-based HR firm. The report was based on interviews with 2,853 mainland employers.

The rate of pay boosts in high-tech and financial companies fell sharply from last year, while traditional industries suffered more moderate declines, the report found.

Staff at high-tech companies posted the biggest income rise at 8.76 percent during the first half, but the growth rate slowed from 14.7 percent last year. Manufacturing companies ranked second in pay increases, with a growth rate of 8 percent in the first half, compared with12.3 percent in 2008.

Financial enterprises, in third place, raised incomes for their employees by 7.78 percent, down from 14.3 percent last year.

For some people, their salary jump carried a price.

"My pay increased 10 percent at the beginning of this year; however, my workload doubled as my boss laid off a few people due to the bad economic conditions," said Jane Weng, an accountant at a foreign-invested pharmaceutical company.

Shanghai remained the city where workers enjoyed the highest salaries on the Chinese mainland. The average entry-level salary in Shanghai was 2,057 yuan (US$301) per month, compared with 1,953 yuan in Beijing and 1,639 yuan in Shenzhen.

Similar salaries in companies invested only by US and European interests were 2,132 yuan a month, higher than joint ventures, private companies and state-owned enterprises.

Meanwhile, non-supervisory white-collar workers made 6,040 yuan a month in Shanghai on average, beating workers in No. 2 Beijing, where they earned 5,499 yuan.


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