According to a recent global survey by HSBC, slightly above a quarter (26%) of women who partook in the study in Hong Kong said they would willingly sacrifice their career for their family. Interestingly enough, this was also the sample group that was the least assured in terms of their financial security in the future among participants from the rest of the region. This insecurity could be because of their fear of being unable to save up for life after retirement. On the other hand, women in Mainland China (5%) are the least likely to choose family over career.
Fiona Nott, CEO of the Women’s Foundation observed, “Hong Kong lags far behind its peers in terms of family-friendly policies and provisions for working women – and this needs to change. Men are still expected to be the primary breadwinner while women are also commonly stereotyped as family caregivers.”
According to Elaine Lai, Head of Wealth Development, Retail Banking, and Wealth Management at HSBC in Hong Kong is of the view that women in Hong Kong prioritize their families despite career and financial obligations. While this could be a learned cultural thought framework, it could also be the lack of policies that allow women (or even male care-givers) to balance work and home effectively.
The survey was conducted online by HSBC and had a sample size of 17,000 people worldwide. After women in Hong Kong who are the most willing in Asia to quit their jobs for their families, the list continues with Taiwan and Singapore (25%), India (18%), Malaysia (15%) and Indonesia (13%).
In an age where companies boast of and talk endlessly about work-life balance and blend, it is worrisome to find that progressive and emerging markets alike often force a choice onto employees to choose either career or work.