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The majority of senior executives in Hong Kong (87.6%) and mainland China (70.5%) said that they had experienced significant physical and mental health pressures amid COVID-19, according to Bupa's latest research. Despite this, less than one in ten of them sought professional medical support for their problems.

Almost one-third (32%) of Hong Kong respondents and 40% of mainland Chinese senior executives said that they had faced at least three or more physical and mental health symptoms, including mood swings, mental exhaustion and not getting any enjoyment out of life during the pandemic.

In addition, 22% and 16% of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese senior executives respectively said they had experienced mental burnout / exhaustion and one in every 100 Hong Kong (1.0%) and mainland Chinese (1.2%) senior executives even suffered hallucinations.

Despite the range of health issues, only 8.4% of Hong Kong executives and 8.7% of mainland Chinese executives sought professional medical support for their mental health issues. Most opted to try and live normally – a view held by 36.2% of Hong Kong respondents and 27.4% of mainland China respondents.

In light of the pandemic, more than 95% of respondents in both Hong Kong and mainland China had reconsidered their attitude to their work, life habits and mindset.

The top change at work for mainland Chinese executives is reducing expenses to prepare for economic recession, while more Hong Kong executives are focusing on exploring flexible work arrangements in the longer term. Digital transformation is also one of the top three changes for Hong Kong senior executives, while in mainland China they are also focusing on online sales and marketing.

A total of 30% of senior executives in both markets will give more consideration to their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing while on a personal level, maintaining good mental health of employees has become a heightened priority for executives in both Hong Kong (45.0%) and mainland China (49%). This trend is likely to result in an upward demand for related professional medical services that focus on mental health.

In terms of self-funded medical insurance plans, Hong Kong respondents were more likely to look for international medical assistance and coverage across global networks, while mainland China respondents prioritised plans with higher maximum claims limits and more comprehensive coverage. The research also revealed growing preferences among the surveyed groups for virtual doctor consultation coverage (Hong Kong: 24.2%; mainland China: 37.0%) and mental health support (Hong Kong: 27.2%; mainland China: 27.5%).

Surveying 500 Hong Kong and 1031 mainland Chinese senior executives across a range of industries in May and July, Bupa's research aims to better understand the changing outlook of senior executives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.