2019 Human Resources Salary Guide

January 23, 2019 6 mins read

Expected salary ranges in 2019 for HR, Admin and Executive Assistant professionals in Shanghai.

HR | Talent Acquisition | Learning and Development | Talent Management | Compensation and Benefits | Shared Service
Commentary on Human Resources Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019


Basic Salary Per Month (¥‎)


HR Salaries (Per Month)
Role Low High Average
CHRO/HRVP 120,000 200,000 150,000
HR Director 80,000 125,000 100,000
HRBP Director/Head 60,000 120,000 80,000
HRBP Manager 25,000 60,000 40,000
HR Specialist 12,000 20,000 15,000
Talent Acquisition
Role Low High Average
Director 60,000 120,000 80,000
Manager 25,000 50,000 35,000
Specialist 10,000 20,000 15,000
Learning & Development
Role Low High Average
Director 75,000 125,000 90,000
Manager 25,000 50,000 35,000
Specialist 12,000 25,000 20,000
Talent Management
Role Low High Average
Director 75,000 125,000 90,000
Manager 30,000 60,000 40,000
Specialist 15,000 25,000 20,000
Organizational Development Director 80,000 125,000 100,000
Organizational Development Manager 40,000 60,000 50,000
Compensation and Benefits
Role Low High Average
Director 60,000 120,000 80,000
Manager 30,000 60,000 40,000
Specialist 12,000 20,000 15,000
Employee Branding Manager 20,000 40,000 30,000
Employee Branding Specialist 15,000 25,000 20,000


Shared Service
Role Low High Average
Director/Head 50,000 80,000 60,000
Manager 20,000 40,000 30,000
Specialist 6,000 15,000 10,000
Admin Manager/Office Manager 15,000 40,000 25,000
Executive Assistant 15,000 30,000 20,000
Personal Assistant 8,000 20,000 12,000

Commentary on Human Resources Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019

2018 Trends in HR Recruitment in Greater China

The HR discipline remained relatively stable in 2018, with no substantial changes compared to the previous year. Most open positions on the market were replacement hires, although we did see new headcount created by businesses in fast-moving industries like Internet, Fintech, Biotechnology and AI, while overall hiring from foreign investment companies and MNCs was on the decline. 

The manufacturing sector experienced some layoffs and a slowdown in hiring as organisations move sites westwards towards second and third-tier cities. We see much talent in this industry keen to switch fields due to tougher economic conditions caused by the global economic slowdown and falling volume of exports.

In contrast, China’s fast-moving commercial sectors are creating new opportunities for job seekers. The Internet, Artificial Intelligence and biotechnology sectors are booming alongside new areas of life sciences, as private companies seek to achieve the next big wave of innovation. Similarly, the semiconductor industry continued to mature in 2018, and as new technology like the Internet of Things evolves, we expect this sector to remain hungry for talent. Companies in each of these burgeoning sectors are offering attractive packages to entice talent, with Internet companies providing pre-IPO stock options, attractive bonuses and enticing base pay.

In-demand Roles, Skills and Qualifications for HR Professionals

Organisation development roles were in high demand from hiring managers in 2018. As companies continue to restructure, these talents are needed to support change management. We also saw increasing demand for talent development management staff as organisations seek to identify and support high-potential, high-performance individuals. As the war for talent intensifies, companies recognise that their current workforce is one of their key assets, resulting in a growth in internal communications and employee engagement as companies make employee satisfaction a critical area of investment.

Over the last decade, HR has developed from a support role focusing on admin and operations to one that provides increased value for the business. CoE roles have grown in number and importance, supporting business leaders to develop their people and offer tailor-made HR solutions. The concept of Human Resources Business Partner is today more mainstream, reflecting a wider mindset shift that sees HR incorporate people-centric elements to boost employee and company performance over simply tactical elements. The role of HR continues to evolve as technology drives efficiency in the administrative areas of the discipline.

Competitive compensation and benefits are critical to effective recruitment in the market and with an increasing number of companies aspiring to become public, pre-and post-IPO compensation and people matters are increasingly important. Companies are on the lookout for talent with stock option experience to help them design and finalise the China market part of their stock options and evolve the unique perks and benefits they offer senior-level executives and key company contributors. Generally, we see companies on the lookout for HR professionals equipped with coaching and leadership talent development skills, as well as the ability to undertake mainstream employment personality and leadership assessments. 

Workplace Trends Impacting HR Professionals in Mainland China

An overwhelming majority of workers in the human resources field are women. We see more companies looking to attract men to the HR profession in order to form more gender-balanced teams, and ensure they see a diverse range of applications when filling roles.

In 2016 China reversed its decades-long policy of limiting families to one child. The Two-Child Policy is expected to have an impact on the labour market in regards to maternity leave and other employer support structures, the evolution of which is yet to materialise fully. 

Flexible working policies are still in their infancy and are a long way from becoming mainstream in the market. While large corporates and traditional industries tend to follow more rigid working hour structures, we do see Internet, tech and e-commerce businesses embracing more flexible working cultures as this becomes more important to candidates. 

As technology continues to evolve, we see it steadily impact human resource management. Big data analytics is driving insights into hiring and offering a more scientific means of shortlisting candidates. Automation and Artificial Intelligence are set to transform talent acquisition and operational day-to-day recruitment. These technologies may result in job displacement, but also free up professionals to focus on strategic, human-focused activities over monotonous tasks. 

What Does the Future Hold for HR Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

In 2019 we expect to see the majority of positions at traditional MNCs be replacement hires, with the most considerable demand for new hires coming from local fast-growing industries such as Internet, semiconductor (IC), biotech, healthcare and AI.

China’s contracting economy is set to open and grow in the coming years and we expect short-term assignments, temping and part-time positions to exponentially increase in the market. This trend is generally driven by new generations entering the workforce with radically different expectations towards employment, preferring exposure to different roles and companies, and prioritising work-life balance over job security. For companies, contracting will be a cost-effective means of acquiring the right talent for ad hoc projects and a way to circumvent globally-controlled headcounts.

Advice for businesses in the market is to continue to invest in organisation development and talent management, both of which will become increasingly vital to anticipate future hiring needs. Employer rating sites like Zhihu are giving candidates unprecedented behind-the-scenes knowledge of an organisation and can have a positive or negative impact on a company reputation and recruiting. Organisations should take steps to build a positive employer brand and ensure to encourage the growth and development of their employees.

Advice for job seekers is to review their competitive advantage and bear in mind that enabling functions will have decreasing job security as technology transforms the human resources sector. The Chinese economy evolves at a rapid rate and local companies are becoming the dominant players in their sector, particularly in government-supported industries. While switching industries can bring new opportunities, candidates should take a long-term strategic view on the opportunities in the market as certain industries will thrive while others stagnate. Similarly, drastic changes in company culture may await employees shifting organisations or industries. Candidates are advised to carefully consider the changes they can accept and prepare to be flexible in their requirements for a role.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China