HelperChoice reveals the areas in Hong Kong where foreign domestic workers get the highest salary

[Chinese version following English version]

As the Hong Kong Labour Department is expected to announce the foreign domestic workers minimum wage reevaluation by the end of the month, HelperChoice analyzed the data of more than 2,000 job ads posted on its platform from 1 October 2017 to 31 July 2018.

 

The study reveals a very encouraging trend: for the 2nd consecutive year, the average salary offered by employers located in Hong Kong increased faster than the legal minimum wage. While the minimum wage was increased by 2.3% in October 2017 to HK$4,410, the HK$4,799 average salary is HK$254 or 5.5% above the results of  the previous survey in 2017.  In the meantime, the consumer price index increased by 2.5%. This means that the domestic helpers have more to save, to send to their families back home or to improve their daily life in Hong Kong. For example, by saving HK$1,000 per month during 4 years, they can finance their children education: HK$250 per month can make a difference.

 

However, this global positive trend hides significant disparities between the different Hong Kong districts. While some employers in Happy Valley and Sai Ying Pun offer up to HK$8,500, most of the employers in Kwun Tong don’t offer more than the HK$4,410 minimum wage. These results correlate with our preceding results, showing that the helpers tend to earn more in affluent areas of Hong Kong, such as Central & Western, and the Southern district.

 

HelperChoice Average domestic helpers salaries
HelperChoice Average domestic helpers salaries by district

 

Unsurprisingly, the domestic helpers salaries are higher in areas favored by wealthy families and international residents. The top 5 Hong Kong districts with the highest wages are: the Southern side, Central & Western districts, the Islands, Sai Kung and Wan Chai. The global average salary for these 5 districts   is HK$4,881, which is HK$471 above the current foreign domestic workers minimum wage. In the sole Central sub-district, the average salary reaches HK$5,595, that is to say HK$1,185 more than the minimum wage. This is of course balanced by a high level of skills and experience required from the domestic workers working in these families.

 

On the other hand, HelperChoice also investigated the 5 districts with the lowest average salaries for domestic helpers. Although last year Siu Sai Wan offered the lowest average salary, this year, the areas that pay the less are Yuen Long, the Northern district, Wong Tai Sin, Tsuen Wan and Kwun Tong, which collectively show an average wage of HK$4,562, that is to say only HK$152 above the minimum salary.

 

HelperChoice domestic helpers average salaries Hong Kong
HelperChoice domestic workers average highest and lowest salaries Hong Kong by district

 

Living arrangements

As in Hong Kong it is mandatory for domestic helpers to live with their employers, the domestic helper salary doesn’t include the cost of accommodation (nor food allowance neither medical expenses) borne by the employers. Considering, the housing costs in Hong Kong, this has of course a huge impact on the domestic helpers’ budget and the money they can save or send back home. However, the comfort of the living arrangements plays a significant part of domestic workers living condition.

 

As the employers can specify the type of accommodation they offer to their domestic workers, HelperChoice also investigated which are the most common living arrangements. The survey exposes that a large majority (70%) of the job offers include a private room, 16% a room shared with a kid and 10% a room shared with another domestic worker.

 

HelperChoice domestic helpers most common living arrangements in Hong Kong
HelperChoice domestic helpers most common living arrangements in Hong Kong

 

While in most areas private rooms are common for domestic workers, Hong Kong remains a city where real estate often rhymes with high prices and small spaces. Therefore, 26% of shared living arrangements is not a surprising figure, and among all the districts, only Wong Tai Sin and Kwai Tsing are proposing a majority of shared accommodations.

 

香港勞工處於過去幾年都會在九月底公佈新的法定外傭最低工資。有見及此,HelperChoice分析了在港僱主由2017年10月1日至2018年7月31日於該網上僱傭平台上發布的約二千個招聘廣告的數據。

 

該調查顯示出一個非常令人鼓舞的趨勢:連續第二年,外傭平均薪金的增幅高於法定最低工資的增幅。雖然法定最低工資由去年 9月30日起增加2.3%至4,410港元,但調查結果反映外傭的平均收入為4,799港元,較該平台的2017年同期調查結果高出254港元(5.5%)。而今年的消費物價指數上升2.5%,這意味著外傭們可以儲下更多錢、匯更多款回家或改善他們在香港的日常生活。每月250港元的薪金增長可以帶來很大的改變,舉個例子,一個外傭連續四年每月儲下1,000港元,她可以資助孩子接受更好的教育。

 

不過,香港不同地區外傭薪金的顯著差距未有在這個總體趨勢中反映。跑馬地及西營盤的部分僱主提供的薪金高達8,500港元,但觀塘的大部分僱主不提供高於最低工資(4,410港元)的薪金。這些結果與HelperChoice去年調查結果相符,反映外傭們在香港富裕地區(如中西區和南區)能賺取更多收入。

 

不出所料,在富裕家庭和外藉專業人士集中居住的地區,外傭的收入更高。外傭平均工資最高的頭5個香港地區依次為:南區、中西區、離島區、西貢區和灣仔區。這五個地區的總體平均工資為4,881港元,較目前的規定最低工資高471港元。在中環工作的外傭平均工資達5,595港元,即比最低工資多1,185港元。當然,高收入外傭的技能和經驗要求會較高。

 

另一方面,HelperChoice還調查了5個外傭平均工資最低的地區,該5個地區為元朗區、北區、黃大仙區、荃灣區及觀塘區,這些地區的平均工資為4,562港元,只比法定最低工資高出152港元。

 

住宿安排

在香港,外傭必須與僱主同住,因此外傭沒有房租支出(僱主亦負責支付食物和醫療費用)。考慮到香港的住宿成本,不用支付房租為外傭的日常消費預算以及可以儲起或匯回家鄉的金額帶來正面影響。然而,僱主給外傭安排的住宿左右外傭住宿環境的舒適程度。

 

由於僱主可以指定他們為外傭提供的住宿類型,HelperChoice還調查了最常見的住宿安排。該調查顯示,絕大多數(70%)的僱主能提供獨立工人房,16%僱主要求外傭與孩子同住一房間,約一成僱主要求外傭與另一外傭共用房間。

 

雖然在大多數地區,外傭能享有獨立房間,但香港是一個房價高而樓宇面積普遍細小的城市。因此,共住安排佔26%並不令人驚訝。在所有地區中,只有黃大仙區及葵青區的僱主大部分要求外傭與小孩或另一外傭共住。