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Asia’s poor work-life balance in focus after list released

Three Asian cities – Mumbai, New Delhi and Hanoi – figure among the top five cities of the world that work the hardest.


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Updated: June 26, 2018

India’s commercial capital Mumbai has topped a global chart of people who work the hardest. Mumbaikars clock in an annual average of 3,315 hours.

Hanoi came in second while New Delhi came in fourth.

The survey – conducted in 71 cities of the world – was released by Swiss Bank UBS earlier this month.

The survey reveals that in India there is no limit for maximum working hours and no guaranteed minimum annual leave. It also dwelled on the differences in holiday entitlement across the world.

The hard-working Mumbai population were among those who took the least time off, at only 10.4 days of vacation per year.

Those who prefer a more leisurely break should head to Riyadh, which averaged 37 days per year, or Russia. Workers in Moscow and St Petersburg get 33.3 and 32.3 days annual holiday respectively, the World Economic Forum said in a report quoted in the survey.

Meanwhile, The Independent quoted an online business-to-business marketplace Expert Market which ranks global cities which have the worst work-life balance.

The site compiled information on the biggest, most important cities globally, then ranked them by the average total hours worked each year, using data from Swiss banking group UBS. In this list, Hong Kong workers clocked in the maximum hours, followed by Mumbai.

Workers in Jakarta clocked in 40.4 hours – 9.99% more hours than the global average and took only 12 days holiday a year. Workers in Taipei did 41.2 hours – that’s 11.6% higher than the global average. Workers in Bangkok put in 42.1 hours. New Delhi clocked 42.6 hours – 14.56% longer hours than the average around the world.

The report, quoted by the World Economic Forum, also mentioned South Korea where following “a low birth rate and slowing productivity, President Moon Jae-in has led a push to reduce the country’s working hours and give workers the “right to rest”.

Surprisingly, despite having a term to describe death by overwork (“karoshi”), the average Japanese worker does 1,713 hours per year – below the OECD average, the report pointed out.

Incidentally, Mumbai has also been listed as the 12th richest city in the world – ahead of Toronto and Paris. Mumbai’s total wealth is US$950 billion, while Toronto’s wealth is US$944 billion and Paris’ US$860 billion at 14th and 15th spot respectively, the Financial Express reported.

Mumbai is also one of the most expensive real estate cities – renting an office in a high-rise building in Mumbai could cost you more than Dubai, or even Los Angeles.



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Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

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