According To A New Survey, S’pore Is The Second Most Overworked Country In The World

Image: Tuomas Lehtinen /


Up till this day, I’m still searching for a certain person.

A person who will say “work-life balance is great!” working in Singapore.

Even the most satisfied people with their jobs will say the job is great and it’s satisfactory, but they won’t ever just straight up say the work-life balance is good.

But, there are people like that, like our mi-

*random commenter gagged for security reasons*

Anyway, to nobody’s surprise, a new survey lists us as 2nd most overworked country.

Image: Giphy

S’pore 2nd most overworked, 32 out of 40 in Work-Life balance

There are 40 cities in the survey, which are “in-demand metropolises worldwide with sufficient, reliable, and relevant datasets” and “known for attracting professionals and families for their work opportunities and diverse lifestyle offerings.”

And if you’re thinking of the top work-life balance to plan your migration, it’s Helsinki. To nobody’s surprise, the only city more overworked than Singapore is Tokyo. I mean, at least we don’t die from Karoshi. Here’s an infographic:

Image: Kisi

Hold up, Kuala Lumpur 4th most overworked?

Work-Life Balance Index based on 3 categories

Before you go dismissing the survey because of KL, they used 3 metrics in the survey:

Image: Kisi
  • Work Intensity Score: Arrival Time AM, Hours Worked/Week, ≥ 48 Hours of Work/Week (%), Minimum Vacations Offered, Vacations Taken, Unemployment (%), Paid Maternal and Parental leave (days), Commuting (one-way, minutes)

  • Society & Institutions Score: Social Spending (% of GDP), Healthcare Score, Access to Mental Healthcare Score, Gender Equality Score, LGBT Equality Score

  • City Livability Score: Safety Score, Happiness Score, City Stress Score, Outdoor Spaces Score, Air Pollutants (µg/m3), Wellness & Fitness Score, Leisure Score

Work-Life Balance Score = [WEIGHTED AVERAGE(City Livability factor scores)  + WEIGHTED AVERAGE(Society & institutions factor scores)] – WEIGHTED AVERAGE(Work Intensity factor scores)

Then they use the magic of math called weighted average to come up with a final score.

So the KL being 4th most overworked is most likely based only on Work Intensity Score. In fact, if we put everything together, KL is actually 40 on the list with the worst Work-Life balance.

But enough of KL, and more to Singapore.

S’pore stats

You can, of course, check the full data with the 40 cities here, but this is S’pore’s data. Paid maternal and parental leave was left out below because the results seemed wonky.

Bad stuff:

  • 23 per cent of people worked more than 48 hours per week (highest)
  • The average workday starts at 9.34 am (7th latest)
  • Average hours worked is 44.6 a week (2nd highest)
  • 7 minimum vacation days offered (lowest tied with Hong Kong)
  • 3rd highest time spent commuting at 44.5 minutes (you’d think we score better on this…)
  • 2nd lowest social spending as % of GDP at 7.4%
  • Ranked 11th lowest for gender equality
  • 2nd lowest LGBT + Equality Score
  • 7th from the bottom for perceived happiness
  • Highest Outdoor Spaces Score
  • 6th worst air pollutants (I really thought we were cleaner than this…)

Average-Good stuff:

  • 14 vacation days took on average (19th most)
  • Lowest unemployment at 2.1%
  • Ranked 21st for Healthcare Score
  • Ranked 17th for Access to Mental Healthcare Score (surprise!)
  • Highest Safety score
  • 24th for City Stress
  • 4th best Wellness and Fitness Score
  • 11th best Leisure Score

On a side note, a writer over on CNA might be overworked since they misquoted the survey, saying “The city ranked 11 for gender equality” (it’s 11th worst) “It was ranked seventh for perceived happiness” (it’s 7th worst).

Read the source data people.

A study by tech company Kisi

Kisi is a tech company selling security access product (those office card readers beside doors). So studying about work-life balance isn’t directly related to their product, but security access does allow companies to monitor work-life balance.

Or depending on their interests, check how much employers pay you to poop.

If there’s a really good employer, I guess they could maybe do something like deny access to the siaolang who spoil market by always working OT.

But, haha, we know that will never happen in SG…haha…ha……


Hold on, what if they can do the other way, and lock us in with the system…?


Uhm, anyway. It’s a roundabout way to get clients, but it’s pretty genius since the company name is now on the news. This is also just the first installation of the study, and they plan to include more cities in the future.

According to them, “it is designed to be a guideline for cities to benchmark their ability to support the fulfilment of residents’ lives by improving the aspects of life which help relieve work-related stress and intensity.”

And if you need more surveys for whatever reason, here:

But hey, not like people did shit for climate change even though studies and survey started decades ago. Just sayin’.




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