Happy in Singapore, or saving money in Hong Kong?
Which location will make you happier when you work in Asian finance? Our research suggests that while jobs in Hong Kong may pay you the most, Singapore will make you happier.
Based on our survey earlier this year of around 600 people working in banking and financial services in APAC, although Singapore is seen as less glitzy than Hong Kong, it fosters a greater sense of wellbeing. 95% of those working on the sell-side in Singapore, whether in trading, investment banking or operations said they are happy working there. By contrast, a fifth of those working in Hong Kong said they were unhappy.
In both cities, our survey respondents wanted to earn more money. In Hong Kong, around 8% of sell-side respondents described their lifestyle as ‘good’ or ‘comfortable’, and 5% said it was OK. When asked what would improve their lifestyle, more pay or bonus came out on top with 10%. One Hong Kong macro sales trader who earned total comp of HK$675k last year said a bigger house and better cars would make all the difference. Plenty of people wanted bigger apartments.
However, 7% of Hong Kong-based respondents said sleep and a better work-life balance were what would improve their lives. One sell-side respondent at Citi said he wanted less stress and a bigger team at work. In Singapore 9% said that more pay would improve their lifestyle; 6% said a better work-life balance was more important. Many people wanted more time to exercise. And compliance staff in Singapore seemed particularly unhappy.
While bankers Hong Kong are still feeling the effects of the city’s quarantine laws, just 3% cited the end of lockdowns and the ability to travel as factors that would improve their lot.
While Singapore financial services employees are happier, Hong Kong-based employees are better able to set money aside for the future. 8% of our Hong Kong respondents said they were saving or investing 70% or more of their annual compensation, compared to only 2% in Singapore. However, 25% of our respondents in both regions said they commonly save 30% of what they earn.
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