How long do people work in a week around the world?

In some nations, workers are burning the midnight oil, while in others, they’re enjoying a work-life balance that’s ideal.

Economists and policymakers may have different views on the relationship between economic growth and employment, but they can still agree that both affect the other in complex ways.

Countries with relatively long working hours

According to this concept, the average annual hours worked in 2020 in Mexico would be around 2,124. This works out to over 41 hours per week, assuming that the worker works all 52 weeks of the year.

In Germany, the average worker only worked about 1,332 hours in a year, which is equivalent to roughly 26 hours of work per week. In 2020, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s annual average for work hours was 1,687. All of the countries that follow the OECD’s guidelines have average work weeks that are longer than this.

Here’s how long work weeks are around the world on an average as seen in a few countries in decreasing order (given in number of hours worked per week) as per data from 24/7 Wall St. survey:

Colombia: 47.6

Mexico: 44.7

Israel: 40.6

Poland: 39.6

Czech Republic: 39.3

Portugal: 39.3

United States: 38.7

Greece: 38.7

New Zealand: 37.8

France: 36.5

Spain: 36.4

United Kingdom: 36.3

Finland: 36.3

Sweden: 36.0

Italy: 35.5

Switzerland: 34.6

In Europe, Poland has the most hours of work per week. However, its work weeks are still around 7 hours shorter than those of Mexican workers. In New Zealand and the Czech Republic, workers enjoy shorter work weeks than the other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but they still work longer than the average.

Countries with relatively shorter working hours

In the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only 25 countries have longer working hours than the average. In an average work year, workers in Germany put in around 792 hours, which is 15 weeks less than the average in Mexico. In Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, workers enjoy shorter work weeks of 26 to 28 hours.

South Korea was named as the country with the longest working hours in 2020. It’s because of the government’s efforts to boost economic growth.

Most workers in developed countries enjoy shorter working hours. They also have better working conditions and are entitled to various perks, such as maternity/paternity leave and guaranteed annual leave. On the other hand, in low and middle-income countries, workers are more likely to experience job insecurity, lower pay, and working poverty.

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