Singapore ranks 32 out of 40 in index on work-life balance

Singapore was ranked second for work intensity, which considers factors such as vacation days taken, paid maternal and parental leave, and the share of full-time employees working more than 48 hours per working week.
Singapore was ranked second for work intensity, which considers factors such as vacation days taken, paid maternal and parental leave, and the share of full-time employees working more than 48 hours per working week.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore is in the bottom quarter of 40 cities when it comes to work-life balance, according to a new study released yesterday.

It is in 32nd place, though it is ranked higher than the other three Asian cities considered - Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur.

This is in part due to the large amount of time that people here dedicate to their jobs.

Singapore is ranked second-highest for work intensity, which considers factors such as vacation days taken, paid maternal and parental leave, and the share of full-time employees working more than 48 hours in a working week.

Top of the list for overall work-life balance are Helsinki, Munich and Oslo, while the bottom three are Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Buenos Aires.

The 40 cities were selected to include those known for attracting professionals and families for their work opportunities and diverse lifestyle offerings, said keyless access technology company Kisi, which published the study.

Cities were then given a score based on 20 factors. Besides work intensity factors, these also included factors related to society and institutions, such as gender equality and access to mental healthcare; and city liveability factors such as safety, outdoor spaces and air pollutants.

Data was taken from various sources including government and international organisation databases, other published indexes and companies like Expedia and UBS.

Kisi chief executive Bernhard Mehl said that he hopes the study highlights the need for more research into optimising the well-being of citizens in order to counter the psychological and economic costs of workplace stress.

Although it is ranked near the bottom in terms of work intensity and how society and institutions support individual wellness, Singapore ranks 11th in terms of city liveability, as the study found that it has high levels of safety, low levels of air pollution, and good general wellness and fitness.

Other findings covered include arrival times at work, with workers in Washington DC and Hong Kong starting at the latest time of 10.30am and those in San Diego starting earliest at 8.09am.

Singapore workers start at 9.34am on average, according to the study.

 
 

The average full-time employee works just 38.9 hours a week in Oslo, compared with 46 hours in Kuala Lumpur and 44.6 hours in Singapore.

Kisi stressed that the index is not meant to be a city liveability index or highlight the best cities to work in.

Instead, it aims to be a guideline "for cities to benchmark their ability to support the fulfilment of residents' lives by improving the aspects of life that help relieve work-related stress and intensity".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore ranks 32 out of 40 in index on work-life balance'. Print Edition | Subscribe