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Fewer than one in four (23%) Hong Kong workers rate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” — one of the lowest levels among all developed Asian economies Gallup surveyed in 2011.
Gallup classifies respondents as “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Respondents are not asked to classify their lives according to these labels.
Those who rate their present life a 7 or higher on the ladder and their life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving, while those who rate both dimensions a 4 or lower are considered suffering. Respondents whose ratings fall in between are considered struggling.
In general, a high level of thriving is positively related to GDP per capita.
However, in Hong Kong, this appears not to be the case. Although Hong Kong’s GDP per capita is second only to Singapore among developed Asian economies and is among the highest in the world, most workers do not see themselves as thriving. Workers’ low wellbeing may be hurting their productivity — and by extension, their company’s productivity — threatening the sustainability of Hong Kong’s economic success.
Less than half of workers (45%) consider themselves “extremely productive” in their current jobs, ranking Hong Kong at the bottom of developed Asia and of all 22 Asian economies Gallup surveyed in 2011.
Financial and Career Woes May Negatively Affect Wellbeing in Hong Kong
Hong Kong workers’ evaluations of their financial and career situations may help explain their relatively low overall wellbeing.
The rising cost of living, which has outstripped income growth in Hong Kong, is significantly affecting workers’ Financial Wellbeing — their way of managing their personal economics and their level of financial security.
According to the Hong Kong Land Registry, home prices surged 70% from 2009 to a 14-year high in June, placing them increasingly out of reach for most residents.
Gallup finds Hong Kong workers’ satisfaction with affordable housing declined to 43% in 2011 from 68% in 2008. In addition, food prices have risen significantly in recent years, and depreciated Hong Kong dollars further increased the financial pressure on residents.