HONG KONG: Workers in the communications and corporate affairs sector in APAC witnessed an average 5% pay rise to US$141,000 last year, but in most categories and countries men continued to be paid more on average than women.

That is according to a new study by PublicAffairsAsia, the network for senior corporate affairs practitioners, and recruitment consultancy Prospect.

Their findings were based on data drawn from an annual salary survey completed by 403 respondents across APAC, supplemented by interviews conducted with 67 industry practitioners across the region in the last quarter of 2017.

One of the key findings was that, on average, male professional communicators in the region earned US$156,000 annually, while their female colleagues lagged behind at US$122,000.

And the gap widened in Hong Kong where males earned an average of US$163,000, or US$60,000 more per annum than women’s average pay of US$103,000.

However, the gap was far narrower in Singapore, with males earning an average of US$156,000 and females earning US$146,000.

Looking at the results for Hong Kong in greater detail, the study found that entry level recruits aged 20 to 24 earned broadly the same (US$30,000), regardless of gender.

But by the ages of 25 to 34, men started to earn more than women (US$78,000 versus US$72,000) and that the gender pay gap widens further as ages increase.

“While there are likely to be many reasons for this gender pay difference, one conclusion could be that companies are now focused on equal pay at the entry level but have not yet been able to reverse the historical legacy of decades of unequal pay between male and female employees,” said Emma Dale, Prospect’s co-founder and managing director (Asia).

Elsewhere, the survey revealed that expats across the region earned US$156,000 on average, while local employees took home US$123,000.

And salaries were highest in Australia (US$193,000), followed by Singapore (US$150,000), mainland China (US$138,000) and Hong Kong (US$125,000).

Sourced from PublicAffairsAsia, Prospect; additional reporting by WARC staff