Hong Kong may be a crowded, noisy and sometimes chaotic city but it seems that professionals living there are fairly happy to stay on, at least according to a new survey.

In fact, in percentage terms, markedly fewer Hong Kong professionals are bolting for the exit gate, assuming they can find a job, to go somewhere else, than is the case in Singapore.

Human resource consultancy MRI China Group found that of 325 professionals polled in Singapore, 44.2 per cent were actively looking to relocate to another city.

In contrast, only 29.4 per cent of the 532 surveyed in Hong Kong said they were doing the same.

In fact, the survey - which took in responses from 4,968 people in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore - found that professionals based in Hong Kong were the happiest to stay rooted. The survey, conducted online, was carried out in November last year.

Taiwan-based professionals were the most eager to move, with almost 51 per cent of the 294 polled saying they were actively looking for a relocation.

Among the Singapore residents surveyed, Australia and New Zealand were by far the most popular destinations to move to. Among people who said they were looking to relocate, 52 per cent said they wanted to live in one or the other.

Europe as a whole came second to Australia or New Zealand, cited by 47.2 per cent of respondents looking out for relocation opportunities, while Asean took third place with 46.4 per cent.

'Singaporeans have got more footloose over the years,' noted OCBC economist Selena Ling.

'Having an overseas posting looks good on your resume and there may be opportunities overseas beyond what a relatively small economy like Singapore can offer.'

Communications executive Tan Ee Ching, 38, found a job in Hong Kong five months ago just to experience a change.

'I'd been at my previous job in Singapore for nine years. Obviously it was a good job, since I stayed there so long, but at the same time I wanted to experience something new,' she said.

Hong Kong was her preferred destination partly because her sister and several of her friends already lived there.

'And since I had never lived abroad, except for one year when I was doing my master's, I wanted to move to a place where the transition would be easy and language wouldn't be a problem.'

Among Hong Kongers who were seeking to relocate, Singapore was the top destination of choice, cited by 53.3 per cent.

'Money and a low-tax environment are key retention reasons for Hong Kong professionals, and if on the move, then their appetite for career advancement and work-life balance drives them first towards top international hubs,' explained MRI China chief executive Christine Raynaud.

'As Singapore's economy has grown larger than that of Hong Kong over the past couple of years, the Lion City seems to have an edge over Hong Kong in terms of being more financially rewarding.'