Kuala Lumpur Listed As the Top 5 Most Overworked Cities In the World

Kuala Lumpur Listed As the Top 5 Most Overworked Cities In the World

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In the modern era, it’s becoming significantly difficult to balance work life and personal life. While working hard and staying productive are not exactly considered negative, it’s hard to tell what are the warning signs of overworking. A recent study by mobile access technology company Kisi released on Wednesday(Aug 7),  have identified that Kuala Lumpur was ranked the fourth most overworked city in the world. The study aims to determine which coveted cities worldwide are meeting their resident’s lifestyle demands to make their country a more appealing place overall to work and live. The study emphasises on three range of categories which determines whether a city is successful at achieving a well-rounded work-life balance:

  • Work Intensity Score: Arrival at work, hours worked per week, minimum vacations offered, vacations taken, unemployment rate, amount of paid maternal and parental leave (days), time spend on commuting.
  • Society & Institutions Score: Social spending (% of GDP), healthcare, access to mental healthcare, gender equality, LGBT equality.
  • City Liveability Score: Safety, happiness, city stress, outdoor spaces, air pollutants, wellness & fitness, leisure.

Based on the result, the most overworked cities are ranked(work intensity scores in brackets):

  1. Tokyo, Japan(100)
  2. Singapore, Singapore(95.4)
  3. Washington DC, USA(93.4)
  4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia(93.3)
  5. Houston, USA(91.7)
  6. Buenos Aires, Argentina(91.3)
  7. Atlanta, USA(90.9)
  8. Seattle, USA(90.5)
  9. Chicago, USA(90.4)
  10. Boston, USA(89.4)

RelatedThe 5 Most Stressful Professions in Malaysia 2019

Malaysia had the lowest score rating out of all 40 cities for “Society & Institutions” and the “City Liveability” categories. The highest average number of hours worked per week was recorded for Kuala Lumpur at 46 hours. This could be largely contributed to the work culture across Asia, where long working hours became a common practice hence most employees tend to be compelled to work long hours.

Related5 Tips to Improve Your Work-life Balance Significantly

Vacations Taken

People working in Finland, Brazil, Germany, France and Spain were found to fully utilise their vacation days with many exceeding the number of vacation days offered in the first place. On the other hand, workers in Malaysia were given a minimum of 8 vacation days  and took 14 vacation days on average. Despite being ranked the lowest vacation days taken, Malaysia has 23 public holidays this year alone and one of the top countries in the world with the most public holidays.

Other interesting findings

The study also uncovered a number of interesting data points about other cities, such as:

  • London has the highest leisure score, at 100, followed by Tokyo and New York.
  • Zurich has the highest wellness and fitness score, at 100, followed by Tokyo and Ottawa.
  • Seattle has the lowest levels of air pollutants, at 4.8 μg/m3, followed by Portland and Stockholm.
  • Singapore has the highest outdoor spaces score, at 100, followed by Zurich and Hong Kong.
  • Munich has the lowest stressful city score, indicating the lowest levels of stress, at 15.8, followed by Sydney and Hamburg.
  • Helsinki has the highest happiness score, at 100, followed by Oslo and Zurich.
  • Singapore has the highest safety score, at 100, followed by Tokyo and Toronto.
  • Stockholm has the highest LGBT+ equality score, followed by Toronto and London. 
  • Oslo has the highest gender equality score at 77.9, followed by Stockholm and Helsinki.
  • Oslo has the best access to mental healthcare, with a score of 68.9, followed by Zurich and Paris.
  • Australian cities have the highest healthcare score, followed by Japan and Italy.


“It is important for us to note that our professional and personal lives are not, and should not be, mutually exclusive,”said Bernhard Mehl, CEO of Kisi. 

“Whether it’s the long hours, unrealistic expectations from bosses or job insecurity, workplace stress has proven to affect our physical and mental health,”he added.


Do you think that Kuala Lumpur is one of the top most overwork cities in the world? Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.

You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

Reach me at youjing@jobstore.com

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