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November 21, 2008

Asia property execs downbeat over industry prospects

Property professionals in Asia are increasingly pessimistic about their industry, and nearly a third received no pay rise this year, but those in China got the biggest hikes -- an average 16.2 percent, reported Reuters.

That was the finding of a salary survey for Asia released on Thursday by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which also placed Australia as the highest-paying country in the region.

The survey of 1,090 professionals found that only a quarter anticipated an increase in activity over the next 12 months, compared with the 57 percent who replied positively in 2007.

Only 63 percent got pay rises this year, compared with 71 percent in 2007.

But Asia lacks high-quality executives who can work through the upcoming property market downturn, and will probably command higher salaries, said Louis Armstrong, chief executive of RICS.

"The demand will be for people who can help turn around non-performing assets, who can do due diligence, aid on restructuring," Armstrong said at the MIPIM Asia conference in Hong Kong.

"It's not like the good times, when anybody in the right place at the right time can make money," Armstrong said. "It is really separating the sheep from the goats."

After China, Malaysia saw the next biggest average salary increase this year, at 11.1 percent, followed by Hong Kong with 8.6 percent, and Singapore with 8 percent.

The average annual salary for a company director in Asia this year is $135,400, while an associate director typically earns $100,700, a manager earns $66,400 and an analyst earns $28,900.

The average salary in Australia was $78,000, closely followed by $77,700 in Singapore, $64,900 in Hong Kong and $58,800 in mainland China.

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