9 Hardest Working Countries In The World

by: Esteban On  Thursday, December 20, 2012
Tags:  Countries   Labor   Work   Workers  


9 Hardest Working Countries In The World

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not feeling too ambitious in the first place. Unless reading this site is, for some a reason, as part of your job. In which case, keep up the good work.

In the event that someone isn’t paying you to read a list article like this, you’re probably going to feel a bit lazier after making your way through it. We’re running through the hardest working (by time worked, not production) nations in the world, and the answers may surprise you.

We all remember hearing that the Japanese work sooooooo hard, don’t we? Well, not hard enough, apparently. Even the USA beat them, and that’s a nation that isn’t really synonymous with “work ethic.” Maybe there’s some sampling error or something. Anyway, roll through this.

United States – 1,824 (hours per calendar year)

Surprised that ‘merica made the cut? You shouldn’t be. It turns out that Americans don’t just bitch about their jobs because they complain a lot, but they actually work harder than almost every other nation on the planet. In the interest of full disclosure, they were pretty close to not making the list, with Australia breathing down the Yanks’ neck with only eight less hours per year worked. One day separates the Aussies from the ‘mericans.

New Zealand – 1,826 (hours per calendar year)

Speaking of Aussies…(Kiwis have to hate that) here’s New Zealand coming in at eight. But don’t expect them to stay on this list too long. Considering they live in gorgeous New Zealand, it’s no wonder that the workforce is migrating towards more flexible schedules that will allow longer leave and more vacation time, making those drill sergeant bosses so mad that steam flies out their ears. In fact, there’s actually a law on the books that allows Kiwis to dictate to their employers where they work and what days, which might actually account for all those hours logged. It’s not so bad if it’s on the employee’s own terms, right?

Mexico – 1,848

It should come as no surprise to most North Americans that Mexico also makes the list (You’re conspicuously absent, Canada!). According to the Washington Post, Mexicans actually work the longest days of any country’s workforce, so long as you count paid and unpaid hours, and why wouldn’t you? So take that image of a Mexican snoozing under a tree, sombrero draped over her face, and forget it. These guys are working more hours per day than anyone.

Hungary – 1,925

One of the common refrains of life in Russia and Eastern Europe is that it’s so…hard. Possibly because of the weather, possibly because of the notions of iron-fisted Communist leaders, but maybe just because they’re working too damn much. Making their average of hours logged all the more impressive is the fact that only 55% of citizens aged 15-64 have a paid job, versus 66% for average OECD countries. Of course, Hungarians are better-educated than most of their international counterparts, so that may have a little something to do with it. It always comes back to education, no?

Greece – 1,925

Despite the economic crises, and the delays they experienced putting together the 2004 Summer Olympics, the Greeks are actually pretty hard workers. But that’s not to say they’re efficient. In fact, in a BBC article about the OECD rankings, Greece is both hardest working country in Europe, and the eighth least-productive. Duality of man and whatnot. Serious gyro food-comas.

Slovakia – 1,958

While the number of hours worked by a country’s citizens is by no means a sign of economic boom or bust, logic dictates that places that offer employment might, on the whole be better places to live than places that don’t offer the opportunity for a forty-hour workweek. Which means that Slovakia now is a better place to live than Slovakia twenty years ago, where government industry was shut down, leading to a general sense of “Now what?”

Poland – 1,983

Sure, Poland gets up there in terms of hours worked. Or else they wouldn’t be sitting near the top of this list. But the real shock is how much the self-employed people work on average. 56 hours, according to a Labour Force survey. Yikes. That’s a rough week on Wall Street, and that’s the average for these self-starters. I guess that attitude breeds a good work ethic. Or working for yourself is really, really hard. Possibly both. And 37% of the total population works six or seven days a week. Chill out, Poland. You’re making us look bad.

Czech Republic – 1,986

These guys also drink more beer than any other country in the world, which means they really embrace the work hard, play hard philosophy of Miller High Life. But over there, I think it’s Pilsner Urquell. Further fueling this theory is the fact that they’ve been punctuating their year with more and more holidays, having added two more national holidays as recently as 2000. Maybe pepper in a few more days, Czech Republic.

South Korea – 2,423

Gold medal. South Korea. By like 20%. I’m not even sure that’s something to brag about, to be honest, but here we are. To give you an idea, that’s 6.5 hours per day or so, including weekends and holidays. That’s a pretty depressing notion, isn’t it? 6.5 hours EVERY DAY. That means your weekends would be just a slightly shorter workday compared to the one you probably work right now. Kia and Samsung (among a bunch of other products, I’m sure). That’s what that gets you!