23 February 2019
A survey has shown that most professionals would like a better work-life balance.
A survey has shown that most professionals would like a better work-life balance.

Professionals want the blue-collar benefit: standard work hours

Standard working hour policy was originally aimed at protecting the low-level staff, but now even professionals are asking for it as some of them are putting in inordinate hours per week, according to professional accounting organization CPA Australia.

A survey carried by the firm on professionals from multinational corporations, accounting firms, listed companies, private companies and not-for-profit organizations has shown that one fifth of the high-level staff are putting in more than 61 hours at work each week, raising concerns on productivity, efficiency and staff health.

“Nearly two thirds of respondents support the introduction of standard working hours with 44.3 per cent suggesting a cap of 40 hours a week, while three quarters of respondents believe the introduction of standard hours would improve work-life balance,” CPA Australia said in a statement. People who are older or hold very senior positions are, however, less likely to support the introduction of standard working hours.

Over half of respondents believe that standard working hours will increase companies’ operating costs, while 39.4 percent think that work will be transferred from Hong Kong to cheaper locations.

“Given the long hours that many respondents seem to be working, it is understandable that the majority of them would want to see standard working hours introduced by the government to improve work-life balance. It highlights the need for employers to improve how they manage human resources to ensure that staff issues are better addressed,” said Ronald Yam, president of CPA Australia’s Greater China division.

“If the Government was to introduce standard working hours then it should ensure that labor laws remain flexible as to when the hours are worked to support industries such as hospitality and retail, which do not operate standard business hours.”

The majority of respondents stated that staff turnover of their companies in the past 12 months was between 1 to 20 per cent. And most respondents believed that the entry level had the highest turnover rate.

Meanwhile, CPA Australia found that 45 percent of the respondents are looking to change jobs in the coming six months for better work-life balance, salary lift and better professional development and training opportunities. The figure was somewhat similar to that in last year’s survey.

“The result this year is very similar to last year’s which means that many companies in the city are still not adequately addressing their current human resources strategies to improve staff satisfaction,” Yam said.

About 34 percent of respondents said they would consider relocating from Hong Kong, with more than 40 percent of such people citing a lack of confidence in Hong Kong’s future as the main reason.

CPA Australia suggested that companies should introduce retention bonuses and offer development incentives to reduce high staff turnover in entry positions.

–Contact HKEJ at [email protected]


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