Early childhood education has been in hot demand in Hong Kong. In 2020, 815 students fought for 21 seats at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)'s bachelor of education in early childhood education programme, and close to 2,000 students competed against each other for 49 seats in a similar programme at the Education University of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)'s latest survey findings once again reaffirmed the vocation's popularity and demonstrated its resilience in a time of crisis. The report revealed that the average starting salary for 2020 fresh graduates was HK$22,713, higher than the year before (HK$21,697).
Separately, within the survey period, September 2019 – August 2020, the average salary adjustment rate for the profession was 4.8%. The projected salary adjustment for the period Sept 2020 – August 2021 is 2.96%. Notably, the salary increment rate in 2020 was 1.3%.
The average annual salary of benchmark positions varied according to whether the school participated in the Education Bureau's '2019-2020 Kindergarten Education Scheme' and the type of school.
For schools not participating in the government's scheme, their average annual salary for principal grade, senior teacher, and class teacher were HK$643,470, HK$496,187 and HK$339,913 – slightly higher than those who participated in the scheme (HK$629,999, HK$465,010, and HK$333,708).
For non-profit-making schools, the average annual salary for the principal grade, the senior teacher, and the class teacher were HK$638,418, HK$478,052 and HK$337,814, which was higher than those of the private independent schools (HK$591,699, HK$426,691, and HK$303,783).
English teachers typically earned HK$353,390 in small size schools and HK$353,390 in big size schools per year, while Mandarin-speaking Chinese teachers earned about HK$277,613 in schools less than 330 students and HK$269,783 in schools with more than 330 students per year.
The five most common benefits provided were compassionate leave (provided by 91% of the sampled schools), marriage leave (80%), examination leave (75%), outpatient medical benefits (71%), and hospitalisation (55%). To attract the top talents, some institutions offered life insurance (15%) and housing allowance (9%).
The survey results also showed that the overall turnover rate for full-time teachers was 11%. The top reasons for quitting the job were workload (100%), followed by family issues (80%), health reasons (57%), and pursuing further studies (46%).
The Hong Kong Early Childhood Education Manpower, Pay and Benefits Survey, jointly organised by the Centre for Human Resources Strategy and Development of the School of Business and Early Childhood and Elementary Education of the School of Continuing Education of Hong Kong Baptist University, involves a final sample of 102 schools, about 10% of the 1,049 kindergarten schools in Hong Kong between 1 September 2019 and 30 August 2020.