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The Difference Between Working in Hong Kong and Singapore

The Difference Between Working in Hong Kong and Singapore 

Hong Kong and Singapore are both global financial hubs in Asia offering infinite opportunities to career-driven individuals. However, working in these two places offers different experiences.

From certain cultural nuances to salary differences, this article delves into the contrasts between these two popular work destinations. With our help, you should discover which city is the right fit for your career ambitions! 

Are salaries higher in Hong Kong or Singapore? 

The average salary of a single person living in Hong Kong is higher than the average salary of a similar person living in Singapore. Typically, a person in Hong Kong earns HK$ 36,583 monthly, while a person in Singapore earns the equivalent of HK$ 33,589.16. 

Is it better to work in Hong Kong or Singapore? 

We find that the answer to the question “Is it better to work in Hong Kong or Singapore?” differs depending on the individual. Both are good options but there are several factors that would make one better than the other, but only with certain people.  

This is why we collected data about these two locations to help you answer which would be a better place to work. We included their work culture, the specializations they’re looking for, and the quality of life in both cities. 

Work Culture in Hong Kong

Chinese cultural values greatly influence the work culture in Hong Kong.

Since Chinese people highly respect their elders or seniors, this culture also shows in the workplace. This is also why hierarchy in the system is tremendously valued. 

Additionally, Hong Kongers tend to be a crowd that likes order and balance, which is why in the workplace, they like to avoid discord as well as complaint. 

However, Hong Kongers also live a fast-paced lifestyle. People are often busy because of the long hours they need to clock in for work. Time is essential here because people see the importance in punctuality. 

Outsiders tend to view this negatively, but to a lot of locals, it shows resilience and hard work. With that in mind, it could be hard to achieve a work-life balance here. 

Fortunately, we live in the age where technology is easily accessible. Which is why a lot of local companies are encouraging remote work and flexible time structure. 

Moreover, the local government is also pushing for laws to help those who have families at home. This includes mandating more parental leaves. 

Work Culture in Singapore

There are some similarities to the work culture in Hong Kong in Singapore. Like Hong Kong, Singapore puts emphasis on adherence to hierarchy. In order to build more lasting connections, expressing politeness is a must here. 

Also, like Hong Kong, Singapore is a diverse place in terms of the cultural background of its inhabitants. This means you may well end up working with people from all sorts of backgrounds. 

Additionally, it’s also important to be punctual in Singapore. They also emphasize dressing up in clothing suitable for the workplace, which is usually business attire. That said, it still depends on the field one is in. 

Unfortunately, there’s also generally poor work-life balance in Singapore. While the government has policies in place to help with the balance, it seems to be insufficient: according to Randstad Singapore, 70% of Singaporeans in the workforce have poor work-life balance. 

Specialization Most Employers Are Looking for in Hong Kong

A lot of employers in Hong Kong are looking for employees in the finance sector. In fact, based on the data from Morgan Mckinley, one of the most in-demand jobs in Hong Kong for 2023 is Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) Manager

Specialization Most Employers Are Looking for in Singapore

A lot of in-demand jobs in Singapore are tech-related. For example, based on Indeed, the most in-demand jobs in Singapore in 2023 are e-commerce specialist, digital marketer, robotics engineer, cyber security specialist, and more. 

Quality of Life in Hong Kong

Overall, Hong Kong is known for having a high quality of life. The city offers various opportunities and amenities. This includes superb healthcare, transportation, and education. 

Of course, the innovative and rich culinary scene isn’t to be missed. Moreover, you’ll also never run out of entertainment and shopping options in the city. There are various markets, stalls, and cultural events to look out for. 

However, there’s also a downside to living in Hong Kong. Because of the overpopulation and scarcity of land, housing costs can be extremely high. In fact, a lot of individuals can’t afford decent housing, which is why many live in cramped places. 

Additionally, Hong Kongers tend to live a fast-paced life. Some people might find it stressful and not an ideal work environment. 

Despite all downsides we’ve mentioned, Hong Kong stays at the top ranks in numerous global quality of life indices.

Quality of Life in Singapore 

Like Hong Kong, Singapore has a high quality of living and is often ranked among the top countries in various global indices. In fact, in 2018, it was even dubbed as the happiest country in Southeast Asia from the World Happiness Report. 

This country offers efficient public transportation and has an overall clean environment.

Additionally, the healthcare in Singapore offers quality healthcare services to its residents, which is why it’s highly regarded worldwide. Based on Bloomberg’s Global Health Index, Singapore is ranked as the 4th healthiest country in the world!

Aside from these, Singapore is also recognized for its low unemployment rate and booming economy. 

However, it is important to note that the cost of living in Singapore can be relatively high, particularly for housing and transportation. 

What are the pros and cons of working in Hong Kong and Singapore?

Both places have positive and negative aspects when it comes to its work culture, environment, and more. Which is why we put them side by side to see a clearer perspective. 

We delve a little deeper into this below. 

Pros of Working in Hong Kong

  • Very welcoming to expats and foreigners
  • Easy commutes and transportation
  • Higher average salary 

Cons of working in Hong Kong

  • Fast-paced, stressful work environments
  • Smaller, costlier rentals and properties

Pros of working in Singapore

  • High quality of life 
  • Low crime rate
  • Easy commutes and transportation 

Cons of working in Singapore

  • High cost of living
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Locals prioritized in hiring (vs. foreigners)
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