HK workers not too happy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2012, 12:00am


Hong Kong managers have been urged to engage their staff more in decision-making after a survey found many employees - especially professionals - are not very happy at work.

The Happiness at Work Index survey, jointly conducted by the Productivity Council and Lingnan University, also indicated that people are marginally less happy at work than overall. On a scale from zero to 10, the average work happiness of the 1,328 respondents was 6.7 points, which was 0.2 points below their general happiness score.

A score of seven is considered 'happy', anywhere between four to six means neutral and below that means unhappy.

The survey defined work happiness as looking forward to going to work every day.

Results also showed that respondents with higher education were not necessarily happier at work. Those with a secondary school education or below were the happiest at work (6.7), followed by university graduates (6.6). Workers holding diplomas, high diplomas or associate degrees were the least happy, scoring 6.5.

'This must have something to do with their level of societal recognition,' said Lingnan Professor Ho Lok-sang, lead researcher on the study.

The survey does not show a link between the type of industry and the degree of employees' happiness.

Productivity Council general manager Raymond Cheng said: 'This means a particular enterprise's culture matters more than which industry a person is in.' He urged companies to step up measures to encourage staff to learn from mistakes, as well as to involve employees more in business decisions - methods that cost nothing and could draw staff closer together.

The survey also found that among small and mid-sized companies, the larger the workplace, the more its employees tend to be unhappy. Small and mid-size enterprises make up some 98 per cent of all local employers. But the situation changes when the size of a company tops 100 employees.

'[Bigger] companies usually have more resources and better-defined systems,' said Ho.

He described it as worrying that most top-level managers interviewed for the survey showed disregard for communication.

Cheng said the council would offer more education to firms based on the findings, noting that: 'The happier your staff, the better your company's performance will be.'