Hong Kong has the world’s longest working week, UBS study finds

Author: PM editorial | Date: 15 Jun 2016

But workers also have greater ‘purchasing power’ than residents of many Asian cities

Hong Kong has the world’s longest average working week at 50.11 hours, according to a recent study by the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS).

The report, Prices and Earnings, compares the wages and ‘purchasing power’ of the population in 71 cities across the globe.

Last year, the government of Hong Kong recommended the introduction of standard working hours – but such changes will take time to be made law.

"Those who like time off should consider finding a job in Paris, where people work only around 35 hours per week (in line with new government regulations) and have 29 days of paid vacation," said the report. "They are on the job annually 1,000-plus fewer hours than their counterparts in Hong Kong."

With a working week of just 30.84 hours, Parisians spend just under 20 hours less in the office each week than overworked Hong Kongers. Mumbai has the second longest week at 43.78 hours – still 6.3 hours shorter than Hong Kong. Bangkok averaged 42.13 hours, Taipei 41.17 and Kuala Lumpur 37.2.

The study also used a net hourly wage to calculate how many hours of work citizens would need to do to buy products such as an iPhone 6 (16GB) or one kilo of rice. In Hong Kong, stronger purchasing power means 51.9 hours of work would purchase the iPhone – compared to 69.2 hours in Taipei, 136.3 hours in Kuala Lumpur and 149.6 hours in Bangkok.

Not only are their working weeks longer, but residents of Hong Kong only get an average of 17 days paid annual leave each year – six days less than the international average of 23.

If they are working too many hours, at least Hong Kong workers are getting most of the overtime done on Mondays, according to a study carried out by Regus last year.