2019 “Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality” Survey Findings

9 December 2019

77 Days of Productivity Lost Due to Health-Related Absenteeism and Presenteeism Per Employee Every Year in Hong Kong

Ranked Again the Highest Among Five Markets in Asia Pacific

Average Monthly Cost Per Organisation Estimated at HK$3.74 Million

AIA Hong Kong announced today the results of its 2019 “Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality” survey. This is the third annual comprehensive assessment of the health and wellbeing of employees across five markets in Asia Pacific. The key findings for Hong Kong are:

  • An average of 77.3 days of productivity is lost due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism per employee every year in Hong Kong, 10 days more than the survey average of 67.1 days, and the highest among five markets surveyed in Asia Pacific. The average monthly cost per organisation is estimated at HK$3.74 million, a significant 25% increase year-on-year.
  • The top three health risks faced by Hong Kong employees are imbalanced nutrition (78.3%), insufficient physical activity (58.6%) and sleeping less than 7 hours per night (47.5%) respectively.
  • One out of four (23.3%) employees in Hong Kong is obese, much higher than the 13.3% in Asia Pacific.
  • Close to 60% (57.0%) of the employees interviewed face at least one work-related stress symptom, with more than 10% (12.2%) of respondents having moderate or severe symptoms of depression, making Hong Kong the second worst in Asia Pacific.
  • Close to 30% (28.7%) of the employees surveyed in Hong Kong score low or very low in terms of work engagement level, similar to the 2018 findings.
Ms Elaine Lau, Chief Corporate Solutions Officer of AIA Hong Kong & Macau, said, “In a challenging business environment, sustaining and enhancing competitiveness is a key concern of employers. This survey reveals that Hong Kong has been the most seriously affected market in terms of productivity loss due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism for two consecutive years. The 2019 findings reveal the situation has deteriorated drastically with the average monthly cost per organisation surging 25% to HK$3.74 million. In addition, the mental health condition of Hong Kong employees is a growing cause for concern. More than 10% (12.2%) of the respondents admitted that they have moderate or severe symptoms of depression, almost 70% higher than the Asia Pacific average, indicating the urgency and importance of addressing employees' health and wellbeing needs.”

“AIA Hong Kong offers employers and employees a one-stop solution comprising pension, group insurance and employee voluntary solutions, enabling employers to fully satisfy employees' retirement and medical protection needs within their budget. On top of that, we actively provide various programmes and tools to promote physical and mental health among both employers and employees. Employers can participate in our industry-first corporate wellness programme – ‘AIA Vitality' for corporations, which offers fabulous incentives to motivate their employees to exercise more, sleep better and eat healthier. Through developing healthy habits, the programme promotes general wellness, builds an energetic workforce – a win-win for both employers and employees, and helps people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.” Ms Elaine Lau added.
Survey findings
Productivity loss resulting from employee sickness  
According to the survey findings in Hong Kong ,15.0% of surveyed employees had missed work time due to health problems in the week prior to the survey. The survey results show that the loss of productivity due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism accounts for almost 30% (29.6%) of an employee's working hours on average, which is equivalent to a loss of 77.3 working days per employee every year, the worst among five markets in Asia Pacific and significantly higher than the Asia Pacific average of 67.1 days. The survey estimates that the loss per organisation per month amounts to HK$3.74 million on average, a significant 25% increase year-on-year.

Unhealthy living habits endanger employees' physical health 
Healthy living habits are essential to maintaining physical health. However, the survey shows that Hong Kong employees are unable to practice a healthy lifestyle, and imbalanced nutrition is their highest health risk. Around 80% (78.3%) of the respondents claimed they do not have a balanced diet, with insufficient consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Physical inactivity and sleep deprivation are also common phenomena among the working population. Around 60% (58.6%) of interviewed employees said they have less than 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. In addition, one out of two (47.5%) employees reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night, higher than last year's 44.7%. 18.0% of respondents indicated they had poor or very poor sleep quality.

Meanwhile, there are also signs of deterioration in Hong Kong employees' clinical health. The percentage of obese employees has increased from last year's 21.4% to 23.3%, almost 80% higher than the Asia Pacific average of 13.3%. More than 80% (85.0%) of respondents reported one or more symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions, while nearly 10% (9.0%) revealed that pain or discomfort resulting from musculoskeletal disorders has prevented them from going to work. In addition, over 20% (22.0%) of respondents reported one or more chronic conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases, indicating a worrying trend.

Mental health hampers work productivity  
The combination of a hectic lifestyle and work-related stress is taking a toll on the mental health of Hong Kong people and consequently affects work efficiency. The survey found that 57.0% of employees interviewed face at least one dimension of work-related stress. 12.2% of the respondents admitted that they have moderate or severe symptoms of depression, nearly 70% higher than the Asia Pacific average of 7.2%. Moreover, 16.3% of respondents mentioned that they have financial concerns, a slight increase from last year's 12.7%. Close to 30% (28.7%) of surveyed employees score low or very low in level of work engagement. These findings indicate negative impacts on work efficiency, as well as business productivity and competitiveness.

Research and analysis for the “Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality” is conducted by AIA's Academic partners RAND Europe and academic institutions across various geographical regions. Now in its third year, the survey covers employees from a wide range of organisations and industries across five markets in Asia Pacific including Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The survey is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of employees' health and wellbeing, which in turn helps employers formulate useful strategies to support employees practicing healthy living and improve overall company productivity. From May to July 2019, a total of 1,169 employees from 38 organisations in Hong Kong participated in the survey.
About AIA Vitality
AIA Vitality# is a game changing wellness programme which redefines the traditional concept of insurance and aims to reward customers to live a healthy lifestyle. Purchase a selected AIA Vitality insurance product and be an AIA Vitality member+ to receive an instant 10% premium discount* or additional 10% coverage^ and an array of rewards and discounts offered by our partners. As long as you keep up a healthy lifestyle, you can even enjoy a minimum 10% premium discount** or additional 10% coverage** each year. Simply by being active in daily life and having a healthy diet, you can earn points and upgrade your status for more offers and rewards.
+ The applicants for AIA Vitality must be 18 years old or above and must be the insured of the in-force policy of an AIA Vitality selected insurance product.
# AIA Vitality is not an insurance product that falls under the jurisdiction of the insurance regulation. Annual membership fee is required for joining. An annual membership fee will be charged for AIA Vitality and a member has to renew the AIA Vitality membership annually on time in order to maintain the membership and enjoy premium discount (if any) in the subsequent policy years. The membership fee of AIA Vitality may vary at any time without prior notice. Likewise, programme benefits may be added or removed without prior notice.
* Premium discount is only applicable to the standard premiums of selected AIA Vitality insurance products (including basic and add-on plans) and shall not apply to any extra premiums due to loading. In all circumstances, the premium discount will be calculated in accordance with the Insured's AIA Vitality status achieved on each policy anniversary. The policy anniversary of AIA Vitality selected insurance products and AIA Vitality membership anniversary may not be the same. For details and offers of AIA Vitality, please visit
^ Extra cover means AIA Vitality Power Up Coverage, which is a percentage of Initial Sum Assured added for the sole purpose of computing the death benefit or the major illness benefit for once when it becomes payable. For details, please refer to
** To enjoy a 10% premium discount or to get 10% extra cover for death benefit or the major illness benefit, members must become Gold Members during their first year and maintain Gold Status from then on.
About AIA Hong Kong and AIA Macau
AIA Hong Kong and AIA Macau are subsidiaries of AIA Group Limited. AIA Group Limited established its operations in Hong Kong in 1931. To date, we have over 16,500 AIA financial planners1, as well as an extensive network of brokerage and bancassurance partners. We serve over 3 million customers2, offering them a wide selection of professional services and products ranging from individual life, group life, accident, medical and health, mandatory provident fund, personal lines insurance to investment-linked products with numerous investment options. We are also dedicated to providing superb product solutions to meet the financial needs of high net worth customers.
as at March 2019
2 AIA Hong Kong internal data includes Hong Kong and Macau's individual life, group insurance and mandatory provident fund customers (as at 31 March 2019)
AIA Hong Kong 
Ms. Esther Chan
+852 2100 1416
Bentley Communications Limited
Mr. Ian Li
+852 3960 1905