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Moving to HK - Salary Negotiation Help

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  1. #1

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    Moving to HK - Salary Negotiation Help

    Hello!

    First off let me say sorry for the long post.

    I've just been offered a Regional Marketing Manager position with a multinational company that has over 20,000 employees worldwide. The position is considered associate level. I am preparing my counteroffer and definitely want to include relocation assistance, but also am hoping for suggestions/advice from anyone. When I first interviewed with the person who will be my boss he mentioned that I would be given a relocation package, but was not offered to me in my award letter. I've searched on Salary.com, Payscale, Ambition, Glassdoor, Hudson and a few other resources for Regional Marketing Manager salaries in HK but all of the ranges seem to vary greatly. I've seen as low as HKD $22k/month all the way up to HKD $95k+/month. I just want to make sure that when I counter I am being reasonable in what I am asking for. In addition to salary increase and relocation what other things should I negotiate?


    My current offer:

    • HKD $38,000 (Monthly Gross Salary)
    • Rental Reimbursement (Amount not stated on contract)
    • Annual Wage Supplement (a.k.a. 13th month salary)
    • Medical, Accidental & Death Insurance
    • Retirement Plan
    • Variable Bonus Plan
    • Stock Purchase (5% discounted rate)


    *So that you are better able to gauge your suggestions I will provide you with a little background. I am 25 and from the US with a Bachelors (BBA) degree in Marketing. I have about 6 six years of working experience both domestically (US) and internationally (Republic of Georgia and a brief stint in Beijing and Shanghai). I was referred to the position by a friend/employee who works for one of the company's US offices. When interviewing I was told that this position is typically suited for someone with 10+ years of experience. So given this reason I know that it would absolutely ridiculous of me to ask for something like HKD $90k/month.

    Any suggestions are greatly welcomed and if you need more info about myself or the position please feel free to ask.

  2. #2

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    Can we take a step back.....why have you decided to make a counter offer? How does the offer compare to your current salary?

    When you say you have 6 years work experience, that would mean you started work at age 19 yet you also have a degree? How much actual work experience do you have excluding placements, summer jobs etc?


  3. #3

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    Thank you for your response bibbju. I have decided to make a counter offer because the relocation assistance that was mentioned in my interview was not included in my offer. I am coming from the US and will obviously need assistance in getting to HK. The offer is much higher, at least least 40% higher than my current salary. Bear in mind that my current position is in a company that is extremely small (less than 10 employees) and in a different industry. Given that the Director is aware of my work experience/skills and qualifications, he still decided that I was the best candidate for the job. I've spoken to the person in the US who originally referred me to the job and she told me that she knows for a fact that the HK office has budgeted at least 20-25% more and perhaps even higher for this position. I am in no way trying to be unreasonable with my request for an increase in salary considering the extended hours, responsibility, travel time and other requirements of this new position. I know that all of my future bonuses/salary increases will be based off my original salary and I do not want to undercut or undervalue myself. I completely understand that an offer of 40% higher than my current salary is very good, but at the same time I want to be sure that this salary is enough to live comfortably with in HK.

    I worked full-time while I was in school. So during the day I would work my regular full-time job and then I would attend classes at night, which is why I have 6 years of actual work experience. This is not including summer jobs or internships

    Char Siu King likes this.

  4. #4

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    I forgot to mention that I am single with no kids


  5. #5

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    Ah ok, so you actually studied part time for your degree. That makes a lot more sense. :-)

    To be frank, I think you're being offered a very good deal given your age and experience. Especially as this is at Associate level. You'll get Asia experience in a much bigger company. At this stage in your career it's something a lot of people would happily do without an increase in salary because they're looking at the long term rather than just immediate financial benefits.

    I would find it hard to justify any additional increase in the offer, apart from a relocation package since it was discussed with you during the interview process. Is this offer based on a local HK contract? Have you confirmed that they isn't a relocation package in addition to the actual salary offer?

    I would be wary of listening to your friend about how much they were willing to pay for the role. Particularly given you admit that you have less experience than they were looking for and come from a smaller company background. This seems to be a good step-up for you but it's exactly that....a step-up. You're not going in with maximum experience so why do you think you should be entitled to maximum salary?

    I hope this doesn't sound harsh as it isn't meant to be. But sometimes people get carried away (often due to encouragement by well meaning but ultimately misguided friends). You've clearly worked hard and you must have a lot of potential for them to offer you this role (given you have less experience than they were looking for). But please don't get greedy. 40% increase is a great offer - and don't forget you will pay a lot less tax in HK so your net salary increase will be more like 50%+. You'll also get more holidays in HK (and quite possibly more vacation time too). And the 13th month's salary which is much less common for managers (and expats). That's effectively a guaranteed bonus which bumps your salary offer to over $40k....and that's before your actual discretionary bonus.

    My suggestion would be you ask for them to confirm details of the relocation package they are also offering you as they mentioned during the interview process. See how they react to that. It's not an unreasonable question. Be aware that the demand to move to HK these days is very high and quite a few companies no longer even feel the need to offer relocation packages (or pay increases etc). You'll see on this forum that they are plenty of people desperate to move to HK who are more than willing to fund their own moves.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you have a good offer on the table.

    I don't know your future employer so to an extent it's hard to comment. But from my own experience when recruiting, counter offers don't go down very well. Maybe it's a cultural difference or an industry thing but in over 20 years of recruiting (either as a recruitment consultant or on behalf of my various employers), I can only think of a few occasions when a counter offer has been made by a candidate (salary expectations should have been discussed before an offer is actually made) and only one of those instances resulted in an increased offer. I should add that for this case both myself as Hiring Manager and my immediate line manager wanted to rescind the offer once the candidate countered (we thought they were being greedy and didn't have the experience to justify an increase in what we considered to be an already too generous offer). We were actually over ruled by senior management (they were panicking as we needed to urgently fill the role). In the end the candidate accepted an increased offer and my line manager and I took great pleasure in firing her 6 days after she joined us. She couldn't deliver at the level we were paying her for. I'm not trying to freak you out and I'm sure lots of posters on here will come along with more positive experiences!!!!

    z754103 and LifeInHK like this.

  6. #6

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    No hard feelings on my end and I appreciate your frankness. I would rather have someone's honest opinion prior to moving to HK than someone sugar coating it for me and then I arrive in HK in shock.

    My contract doesn't state whether the offer is based on a local HK contract. This is another question I will need to ask. Given the increase in salary I would much rather ask for the relocation than an additional increase in salary.

    Aside from the relocation package are there any other questions that you think I should ask? I've been searching the forums as well as but I am sure there is something that I am missing.

    Thanks again for your honesty.

    closedcasket likes this.

  7. #7

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    You sound like you've got your head screwed on and I wish you all the best with your move. At 25 and single, it's a great opportunity for you and a great time for you to move to HK and get to travel around Asia.

    I'd also ask how many days vacation you'll be given annually. I know you don't get much in the US (compared to us soft Europeans!) and the HK legal minimum isn't much better but most expats here (local contracts or not) get a decent amount so that might be a pleasant surprise for you.

    Claudiau120 likes this.

  8. #8

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    Well done OP. You passed the bibbju test without sustaining any injuries. You'll fit in well here!

    Sent from my GT-S5301 using GeoClicks mobile app

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by justjoe86:
    Well done OP. You passed the bibbju test without sustaining any injuries. You'll fit in well here!

    Sent from my GT-S5301 using GeoClicks mobile app
    You're cruising for a bruising young man. Behave yourself and don't go scaring the newbies. You know we're supposed to save that until they get here.

  10. #10

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    Whoops looks like I left that out of my initial post. I get 15 days annual leave and each year after that it increases by one day until I reach a maximum of 20 days annual leave.

    Thank you very much for all of your help and I am looking forward to this next phase of my life.


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