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Workaholic – do Hong Kongers work too hard?

  • By
  • Asif Ghafoor
  • April 21, 2016

Hong Kong has one of the most notorious work culture in the world, with long working hours, no over time paid and wages that rise little in the face of inflation. But how do we do compare to the rest of the world? Using data from UBS’s price and earning report in 2015, which compares 71 cities across the world, we looked at our wage levels, working hours and vacation compared to the rest of the world:

Wage Levels:

Japanese YenFacts:

#32, index 49.4 gross

#31, index 51.3 net (due to low tax rate, but that only bring us up 1 place)

Gross hourly wages are calculated from survey’s gross annual earnings data divided by the annual number of working hours (tax, social security, other special deductions from gross annual income for each city)

In relation to our price level, this is very unsustainable – we are living with half of New Yorker’s wages, but at 75% of their expenses.

Working hours:

Man at work - Hong Kong#1 – Hong Kong average over 50 working hours per week.

Do you want to know what the average number of working hours is across 71 cities? It’s 40 hours per week. Hong Kong is essentially THE workaholic city where people work 5 till 9 and not the other way around. In a city where over time seems to be a given with zero expectation of compensation most of the time – it’s safe to say that Hong Kongers are not the happiest bunnies in the world.

Vacation days:

Beach17 days of holidays (Annual vacations – paid vacation)

Now you might think that since we work so hard, we are allowed to play hard. No such luck. Compared to the average 29 days holidays, Hong Kongers only get a measly 17 days vacation days per year. However, one must take into account the amounts of public holidays, which in Hong Kong consist of both traditional Chinese and western holidays. Even then, however, we still don’t win the race: San Paulo has highest combined amount of time off, a whopping 50 days combined. But hey, if it makes you feel better, Lisbon has the lowest amount of legal holidays with only 5 days.

And do you know where is the best place to work? Paris! With 35 hours per week and 29 days of paid vacations, some of you might just be packing your bag to move to the City of Lights as we speak!

Data from UBS price and learning 2015 study.