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Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index 2022

Research reveals the ‘Great Resignation’ is far from over

Hong Kong,23 Nov 2022

More than one-third of Hong Kong CEOs mulling a major career change within the next year, desiring a better work-life balance


  • 66% of HK HNW individuals (CEOs: 96%) admitted they have experienced symptoms of mental ill-health over the past 12 months
  • 98% of HK HNW individuals are in pursuit of work-life balance
  • Flexible working practices bring longer working hours, only 5% of HK CEOs worked a standard eight-hour day when working from home
  • 37% of HK CEOs are particularly feeling the mounting pressures of meeting ESG goals, the highest among all global markets (Global average: 26%)
  • 85% of HK CEOs have plans to purchase additional private medical insurance for themselves or their families within the next year


[Hong Kong – 23 November 2022] Bupa Global today released its latest Executive Wellbeing Index, examining the trends and challenges in wellbeing at home and work for the next 12 months. The research found that HNW individuals and top executives around the world, especially in Hong Kong, are planning major career changes within the next year, including moving jobs, reducing working hours, stopping work completely or retiring in a bid to improve their work-life balance.


Hardships mounting for HK HNWs amidst a mental health crisis
Tough times lie ahead for the Hong Kong economy, as business leaders are under immense pressure with 66% of HK HNW individuals (CEOs: 96%) admitting they have experienced symptoms of mental ill-health over the past 12 months. Yet they have rarely sought help, with just 11% of HNW individuals having spoken to a doctor or a mental health professional for assistance.

The most common issues faced by leaders are mood swings (11%), decision difficulties (10%), disturbed sleep (9%) and mental exhaustion or burnout (9%). Alarmingly, 7% of HNW individuals have had thoughts of causing harm to themselves or others (worse among CEOs: 12%), compared with 4.5% last year1. The major worries that keep HK CEOs awake at night are meeting ESG goals (37%), work-life balance (27%) and economic uncertainty or recession (25%).


The Great Resignation and the Global Boss Exodus are far from over
In the midst of mounting pressure and accompanying mental health challenges, HNW individuals are joining the Great Resignation. Many expect to resign or change roles with plans to spend more time with family and friends (17%) and maintain their mental health (13%). In Hong Kong, HNW individuals are eyeing new opportunities, with 38% planning to make a major career change within the next year (CEO: 37%), including moving jobs, reducing working hours, starting consulting or becoming freelance, retiring or stopping work completely. This Global Boss Exodus is also expected to have geographical impact as well, with 13% of CEOs planning to relocate out of the city, or migrating to another country or city (10%).

Dean Pollard, General Manager of Bupa Global Middle East and Asia said, “Whilst senior leaders hold the power and accountability for their employees, it is clear that they are under immense pressure. The Global Boss Exodus has shown that companies must support their leaders both physically and mentally, finding solutions that can help maintain a proper work-life balance, for themselves and their people.”

“The need for preventative care and mental health support has never been greater, at every level, if businesses are to retain the very best talent and lead us out of economic uncertainty. As a premium health insurer, our role is to find a way to provide a holistic approach to protecting our customers’ health and help businesses protect their greatest assets – their people.”


A dilemma between work-life balance and hybrid working
Work-life balance has steadily become a growing concern, as almost all HK HNW individuals (98%) have agreed that work-life balance needs to be improved. 89% of HNW individuals were working overtime and 89% had not taken their full holiday allowance in the last 12 months. 23% of HNW individuals worked over 60 hours in most weeks, and numbers were worse among top executives (CEOs: 37%). While they are looking for work-life balance, starting a new hobby or learning a new skill became their first choice of interest over the past 12 months (18%). They also started working more from home (18%), formally managed down their hours (15%), as well as encouraged more flexible working practices at work (12%).

In retrospect, the flexible working practices seem to conflict with achieving work-life balance, with the contradiction more significant among top executives, especially CEOs. Although nearly half of CEOs (44%) believe that working from home boosts productivity, 21% admitted that they have been working longer hours due to flexible/hybrid working models, and only 5% working a standard eight-hour day when working from home.


Hong Kong CEOs’ pressure on ESG achievement ranks the highest globally
ESG has become a compelling issue, adding to HK CEOs’ pressure, with worries about meeting ESG goals the highest among all global markets (HK CEOs: 37% vs global average: 26%). However, meeting goals without impacting profits or operations in the current economic and geopolitical climate isn’t clear. The resulting squeeze from inflation on profitability has already seen 17% of CEOs cut down on investments in ESG.


CEOs rely on insurers for support - mental health and wellbeing initiatives as their utmost priority
One in every three HK CEOs (33%) is planning to introduce wellbeing initiatives that accommodate the unique needs of employees and commit to increasing diversity at all levels (21%). 63% of CEOs agree to focus more on mental health and wellbeing initiatives as a priority.

Nearly half of the CEOs (46%) would like their company to increase the budget for supporting mental health and wellbeing and will spend an average of around HK$17.9 million (£1.9 million) over the next 12 months. Outside of company policies, CEOs are also seeking support from their insurer, with the majority of CEOs (85%) planning to purchase additional private medical insurance for themselves or their families within the next year. They expect their personal medical insurance plan to include more focus and resources on preventing ill health, maintaining or improving overall health and wellbeing (27%) and cover for both themselves and their family (21%).


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Notes to editors

  1. According to Bupa Global’s “Global Top Executive & HNWIs Wellbeing Index” in 2021, 4.5% of HK HNWs have had thoughts about hurting themselves or others.


About Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index
The Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index 2022 analyses research conducted between 3rd of August and 7th of September 2022 among 2439 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) across eight countries and regions, including UK, USA, France, UAE, Egypt, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Research was conducted via online survey by Censuswide. HNWIs are defined as those with over £1M (approximately HKD 9.4M) in annual salary and investable assets (excluding property or workplace pensions). Of the 2,439 respondents, 2,399 are working, 1,831 are board level executives* and 541 are CEOs. In Hong Kong this includes: 403 HNWIs, 256 board level executives and 147 CEOs.

Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

*Job titles include: Owner/proprietor, Partner, Chairman, Chief Executive, Managing Director, other board level manager/director. They are referred to as ‘global board executives/directors’ or ‘senior leaders’.


About Bupa Global

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives and making a better world. 

Bupa Global is the premium health insurance arm of Bupa. Established in 1971, it provides individuals, small businesses and corporate customers international coverage with products and services so they can access the healthcare they need, when they need it, whether at home or when studying, living, travelling or working abroad. With a multilingual team of advisers, Bupa Global serves customers across the globe and can provide access to c.1.7m medical providers on a direct settlement basis. Offices are located in London and Brighton (UK), Miami and Philadelphia (USA), Dublin (Ireland), Cairo (Egypt), Dubai (UAE), and Hong Kong (China) as well as regional offices in Mainland China and Singapore.

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