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Hong Kongers are the unhappiest at work, by far!


According to the latest study by research firm Qualtrics, only 34% of Hong Kongers are happy with their jobs, this was the lowest out of all the surveyed countries, lower than Malaysia (45%) and Singapore (43%).

People who work in telecoms have it the worst by a huge margin, with 44% of workers reportingly feeling stressed or emotional because of work. Media and Advertising (27%), Tech (26%), Utilities (24%), Finance (24%) and Retail (24%) also proved to be some of the toughest industries to work in.

So where does this work-place misery really come from?

1. Interactions with your boss and recognition

Imagine going to work every day and having no one recognize all the effort you’re putting in? According to a study conducted across 1000 organizations in 2017, interactions with Asia Pacific bosses scored the lowest, ranking 15 percentage points below the global average. Only 26% of workers felt strongly valued at work (down from 31% the previous year). The study goes on to state “Employees aren’t receiving the recognition they deserve. And when they are, they’re not receiving it in a timely manner”. Only 25% of employees feel management is transparent, whilst 42% of managers thought they were an open book. For employees that want to learn and progress in their careers, this kind of disparity is a huge and continued source of unhappiness.

2. Long hours and checking email on the weekend? Actually, No.

Hong Kongers are the hardest working people in the world, clocking in a staggering 2,606 hours per year. But it turns out that that working longer hours and checking your emails on the weekend doesn’t negatively impact how much you look forward to going to work. In fact, quite the opposite is true. People who check their emails more tend to look forward to going to work more than people who never occasionally do.

Looking Forward to going to work vs working long hours:

Graph 1

Looking Forward to going to work vs Checking emails on a weekend:

Graph 2

3. It’s not just about the money

Maybe we’re the hardest working people in the world because things are so expensive! And this year it’s only getting worse!. However pay didn’t feature as the cause of people’s unhappiness, according to Qualtric’s annual survey the top 3 drivers that determine our happiness at work are:

  1. Working for a company that’s supportive of work-life balance
  2. Managers who acknowledge you for good work
  3. Having the right level of training to work effectively

If you’re missing any one of these key ingredients, the chances are you’ll be unhappy with your job, regardless of your pay. According to a by PwC report, only 44% of millennials said a competitive wage was an important factor when choosing an employer, second to the opportunities, career progression and culture.

4. Find a company that cares about your well-being

So we’re an unhappy work-force, but probably not for the reasons you thought! Finding a good company to work for can be tough, and not all companies stay good.

Here are our top picks of 4 great companies that are hiring right now, you can check out their profiles on Vanna to see what it’s really like to work there and see if any of their open positions fit!

Prenetics – Revolutionising DNA Testing! – (Open Positions)

Soundbrenner – Changing the future of music through technology! (Open Positions)

NEST – Helping innovation thrive (Open Positions)

Easyship – Helping thousands of businesses sell their products online (Open Positions).

Naomi Chan

Career Coach and professional career hacker at Team Vanna

4 min read

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