Female expat professionals rejecting Hong Kong gruelling working hours

Published:  14 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Hong Kong
Once a popular hub for expat women professionals, Hong Kong is now being replaced by Taiwan due to its gruelling work hours and spiralling cost of living.

According to the recent InterNations poll aimed at female expat professionals, Hong Kong’s appeal as an expat hub has crashed from 12th to 29th place over the past year. After years of being at or near the top of the expat tree for overseas assignments, the island city is now rated 53rd out of a total of 191 countries represented in the survey.

It seems the main problem for women looking to advance their careers overseas is Hong Kong’s unsatisfactory work-life balance, with only five per cent of expat female executives stating they were completely satisfied with their lifestyles. For expats working in Hong Kong, a more-than 50-hour week is considered normal, a fact which didn’t sit well with expat women, even those whose careers were advancing as a result of their posting.

Another problem highlighted by female respondents was the expense of living in Hong Kong, with 72 per cent suggesting everyday costs were too expensive by far. President of the American Womens’ Association in Hong Kong Marcy LaRont isn’t surprised by the survey’s results, but believes the high number of trailing spouses accompanying their husbands might have influenced the percentages.

However, one long-term Hong Kong expat resident with her own global public relations company believes Hong Kong is still a great place for those who prefer to live in the grittier neighbourhoods alongside the local communities. She says the flavour of local life as well as the delicious regional cuisine in casual restaurants gives a real experience of the city, and needn’t be at all expensive.

However, she adds, many expats simply aren’t prepared to experience Hong Kong’s local cultural lifestyle, preferring to overspend on their salaries to maintain their upscale statuses.
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