The overtime hours put in by Hong Kong’s workforce means that the city tops the league in Asia for the longest overtime worked, according to a survey.

Global office space provider Regus interviewed 44,000 business people from over 100 countries. The survey was conducted online over a period from last December to this January and 349 of the interviewees were from Hong Kong.

Commuters in Hong Kong. Photo: Wikicommons.

Results show that 19 percent of the interviewees put in an average of around two to four overtime hours every week, a similar result to Asian countries such as mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, where around 20-30 percent work that amount of overtime hours.

However, the Hong Kong workforce tops the list for clocking the longest overtime hours in Asia, Apple Daily reported.  Twenty percent put in four to six hours of overtime on a weekly basis and 19 percent work six to eight hours; in both instances this was a higher percentage of the workforce than that in mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

sleeping work overwork
Photo: Simon Law, via Flickr.

Almost a third (31 percent) of interviewees stated that they work overtime for a period equivalent to a full working day, meaning eight hours, and another 14 percent work overtime for around 15 hours every week. Around 27 percent of the Hong Kong interviewees said that they usually work overtime on Mondays in order to finish up work from the previous week.

HR consultant So Wai-chung told Apple Daily that an overtime culture has always existed in Hong Kong. He also said that in the past people worked even longer hours, but the newer generation was more concerned with their work-life balance, so the situation has improved in recent years.

A survey conducted by Hong Kong Baptist University in October found that while most employers set the number of working hours at 40-48 a week, 38 percent of employees work over 49 hours. Half of employers say that their staff work overtime because they are sorting out their private affairs during working hours.

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.