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Working longer hours? You aren’t alone


Updated: 24 Mar 2015

• Almost one in three organisations increased overtime last year
• Of these, 45 per cent said overtime was unpaid

Only 13 per cent of employers managed to decrease overtime and extra hours in their organisation last year, with 31 per cent instead increasing overtime, says recruiting experts Hays in Hong Kong.

The findings, revealed in the recruiter’s 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide, show that of the 31 per cent of employers who increased overtime, almost half (45 per cent) did so by five hours or less per week. A further 35 per cent said overtime was up five to 10 hours per week, and the final 20 per cent said overtime was up by more than 10 hours each week.

45 per cent of employers said their employees were not paid for these additional hours. Only 35 per cent said employees were paid for overtime, while the final 20 per cent gave other forms of reward, such as time off in lieu.

“Steady hiring demand will continue in Hong Kong across most sectors and industries in the year ahead, but employers report a gap between the skills that they are looking for and the skills available in the local labour market,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia.

“Add the high number (72 per cent) of employers who expect their levels of business activity to increase in the year ahead, and it’s no wonder that more employers are increasing than decreasing overtime levels in their organisation.

“If not managed carefully, overtime has the potential to cause workplace stress and employee burnout. In many of the organisations that have increased overtime, there could be a very good business case for adding permanent headcount or using a temporary staffing solution to get you through peak periods.

“We’d also suggest to employers that they monitor not only overtime but absenteeism and attrition rates as well so they know what all that overtime is really costing,” says Christine.

Hays recommend that employers take a number of steps to help manage employee engagement during sustained periods of increased overtime, including:

• Actively monitoring the amount of overtime being performed and by which team members, as well as absenteeism and general employee wellbeing;
• Remaining open to adding permanent headcount as a way of decreasing overtime and reducing the risk of existing employees leaving;
• Using temporary staff to relieve pressure on overtime hotspots;
• Actively encouraging managers to use regular feedback, paid rewards and unpaid rewards to recognise those employees putting in the extra time;
• Monitoring business activity so staff can be given time off in lieu where possible.

Get your copy of the 2015 Hays Asia Salary Guide by visiting, contacting your local Hays office or downloading The Hays Salary Guide 2015 iPhone app from iTunes.

Hays is located in Hong Kong at Unit 5803-7, The Centre, 99 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong. Phone +852 2521 8884or email

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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For further information please contact Lucy Sharp, Regional Head of Marketing at Hays, on +61 2 8226 9885 or


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