Long working hours in Singapore lead to poor work-life balance

4 min read

Our report shows most Singaporean professionals are working longer than their contractual hours, resulting in a negative impact on their work-life balance.

Over 80 percent (82%) of the professionals who responded to the Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey say they are working in excess of the hours stipulated in their contracts which is slightly lower than Japan and Hong Kong (both 84%)  but higher compared to China (65%). The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds (65%) of Singapore’s professionals say they feel obligated to work longer hours but only 28% believe they are more productive during these extra hours compared with their Asia Pacific counterparts in Australia (55%), China (39%), Hong Kong (37%), Japan (36%).

The overwhelming majority (85%) of respondents feel that excessive working hours are having an impact, upon their work-life balance. Despite this, Singapore’s professionals are continuing to work even when not at the office, with 72% of respondents saying they continue to work from home or on mobile devices.

Even with the long hours working culture, the survey revealed that just over half (54%)of respondents are aware of flexible work options at their organisation, with work from home being the most common (41%), followed by flexi-time (32%) and part-time (12%). However, over a quarter (26%) of respondents say there are currently no flexible work arrangements at their organisation, whilst 20% say they are unaware of flexible options available to them.   

Andrew Evans, COO, South Asia,  Morgan McKinley , says: “This is indicative of the work culture across Asia, where typically longer working hours and late nights in the office are commonplace, so I’m not surprised by the statistics at all. Typically, in Singapore the workforce starts their day later than their western counterparts, and work lunch breaks are well enjoyed.   It is culturally acceptable to enjoy a good hour for eating during lunchtime which does add to a later day’s leave.”  

Evans continues: “More can be done to introduce increased flexibility to working hours by offices in the Singaporean market. Whilst the average professional in Singapore seems dedicated to working extremely long hours, our survey highlights that many professionals are indeed disgruntled with the work-life balance issue.  Unfortunately, there is not much choice at the moment . Whilst a minority of companies are able to offer working from home or flexi hours, clearly in the overall majority this policy is not currently implemented well or deemed acceptable by senior management.”


Further press information:

Emma Nguyen                                                                                                

Tel:  +61 458 164 120                                                          

Email: pr@morganmckinley.com


Notes to editors:

Morgan McKinley interviewed professionals in Singapore as part of the Working Hours survey in August 2014. Respondents are all professionals  who are engaged in a range of specialist sectors such as Banking and Financial Services, Technology, Retail & FMCG, Construction & Engineering, Public Service, Media, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare and Legal. Just over half (56%) are female and the remaining 44% male. The majority (86%) of respondents are in the age bracket of 21-40 years old, whilst the remaining are is made up of 13% from the 41-60 years old age group and then 1% who are below 20 years of age. A further one percent chose not to say of which age group they were a part.

The survey was conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.


With offices across Ireland, the UK, EMEA, Asia and Australia, the company’s professional recruitment expertise spans banking & financial services; commerce & industry and professional services. Morgan McKinley is a preferred supplier to many of the major employers in its specialist sectors and thousands of smaller local firms.

Morgan McKinley is a short-listed finalist in the 2014 Global Recruiter Asia Pacific Awards.

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