August 13 2009|03.14 PM UTC

Stan Reybern

Work Hours Per Week Around the World

Category: UncategorizedTags: ,

Traditional working hours vary greatly around the globe, based on both economic and cultural differences. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development just released their study on average annual hours worked per worker in 2008, showing us which countries have their nose to the grindstone and which ones are more often found smelling the roses.

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruggy August 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Apparently I work twice the norm in the USA.

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Nemo -- N'rn Wisconsin August 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Ummm… Where’s China and India?

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Scrum August 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Thanks Ruggy! Due to your efforts, I only have do half the work I used to. Signed, your co-worker.

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k August 13, 2009 at 6:52 pm

American says wtf? no way. I work twice that.

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Lenny August 13, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I have to say everyone in Canada where I work (unless part time) are 40+ hours a week.

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Jimmy James August 13, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Agree with Nemo, China’s the one I opened this for.

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Perzen August 13, 2009 at 7:45 pm

@Nemo This graph is for OECD countries not the other growing economy countries like China and India where it averages about 50-60 hours a week.

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not important August 13, 2009 at 8:35 pm

they probably don’t want to put up china and india’s numbers because it’ll just be ridiculous

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Anonymous August 13, 2009 at 8:49 pm

@Nemo This graph is for OECD countries not the other growing economy countries like China and India where it averages about 50-60 hours a week.

I completely agree to Perzen, and BTW, if somebody wants to do something like this then world does not ends and starts at OECD…

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Heather August 13, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I agree.. USA works more than that..

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Joe Kraska August 13, 2009 at 9:26 pm

This material is not accurate. This article starts with the phrase “traditional” working hours, but then goes on to present averages. These averages are inclusive of people who cannot find more work than they’re getting, so it’s just silly. If you wanted to know what it’s like to work in Mexico when you can find work, it’s like monday through saturday, 10 hours a day, lucky if you get a lunch break.

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robert August 13, 2009 at 10:13 pm

yeah this seems pretty off. i wonder what their methods are for gathering information like this. i know almost definitely that japan and the US work more than that.

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Statistics August 13, 2009 at 10:35 pm

The figures are averages. Thus, part time and casual workers, plus annual leave and sick leave will avccount for the <40 hours per week in most countries.

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spanish August 13, 2009 at 11:37 pm

Sorry, it’s not correct. In Spain all workers work at least 1750 hours per year.

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Teiosanu George August 13, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Hmm…guess I am the one crazy working 70-80 hours per week. Or the rest of the world is lazy…

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Joel August 14, 2009 at 3:16 am

UK 32 hours? There must be something wrong. I think they get this from the managers who don’t want to get in trouble with the B.S. EU law. I work min – 40 hours a week! And god knows how much more hours upward.

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Guillaume August 14, 2009 at 6:00 am

Funny, it looks like the major economic powers in the eurozone are also the ones where average worktime is the lowest (Germany + France). That proves productivism is not a linear function of worktime…

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Nixon August 14, 2009 at 7:10 am

I think this is PER JOB — many Americans have 2 or more jobs.

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Jäd May 25, 2011 at 4:54 am

“…. study on average annual hours worked PER WORKER in 2008″. Read the article please.

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Mr. Dave August 14, 2009 at 7:31 am

I would have thought it would be higher for Americans, but part time workers would skew the numbers. I’d be interested to see the averages among full time/salaried employees only.

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ryan August 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

china and india are too busy working to give any data for this

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Anonymous November 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Lol

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Gwendolyn Schmidt August 14, 2009 at 12:30 pm

These are averages, which includes everyone who doesn’t work at all. Thus, your 70 hrs/wk + someone else’s 0 hrs/wk = 35 hrs/wk average between you both.

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Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

No more overtime. Raise the minimum wage. Share the Work!

Tax the opulent rich. And then spend responsibly.

Share the Work!

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Ah August 15, 2009 at 10:58 am

Ahah ! Completely wrong. Working in France is 35h per week minimum.

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sr August 15, 2009 at 11:01 am

For the U.S. they must be factoring in the unemployed to come up with the thought that we on average work only 35 hours a week. I do not recall a 2 hour lunch in the last 20 years, I don’t smoke and I can’t recall just siting around for the phone to ring. Thank you bias analyists putting this report together; no doubt it was funded by your employers earmarked Republican efforts to tell us how good we have it.
Thanks.

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PK August 16, 2009 at 3:05 am

Guys, relax! Those numbers calculated based on per-year working hours – means with vacations, holidays, etc. If you work 8 hours daily 5 days per week and have 3 month long vacation (+ xmas holidays + something like 2 weeks long “labour day” vacation in May in Russia + 10 national holidays per year) – your average weekly hours will be 30 or less – like in Germany and Norway.

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SK January 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

oh finally – someone who knows the meaning of average!

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Mike August 17, 2009 at 7:05 am

Don’t trust a statistic you haven’t forged. The map quite likely shows the average of full-time and part-time jobs combined, otherwise the 27 hours for Germany (where I am from) wouldn’t make any sense even if you add vacations, holidays, illnesses etc. to the equation. People work an average 38 to 42 hours on their full-time jobs in Germany, while on the other hand there is a large amount of low-income part-time jobs to keep the unemplyoment rate as low as possible.

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Ulf August 17, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Everyone I know in Germany with a regular job works 38 hours or more. There have to be part time workers in those numbers. I mean, 27 hours a week is not full time, that’s for sure. Even in Germany ;-).

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Mariohn August 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm

It would be almost impossible to survive in the U.S. working less than 40 Hours/Week. I personally work at least 54 every week

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the phoenix August 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

even still the study could have been done a lot better and factored the part- timers into one category, the full- timers into another and leave the lazy bums without a job off the charts period

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Krys September 16, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Im suprised that poland had 38 hours i thourght it was around 30

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Carmen October 21, 2009 at 11:37 pm

This is not accurate for Spain either! There are weeks I have to work over 70 hours. The minimum for me is +40 and that’s pretty much the same for everybody I know.

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Vanessa October 27, 2009 at 4:53 am

I agree with Carmen: Spain is +40, extra hours are not counted and not paid.

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Connie October 28, 2009 at 10:29 am

You cannot survive in the U.S. working less than 40 Hours per week.

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Paul November 5, 2009 at 10:28 am

I am surprised by some people here who think the world revolves around them. The numbers here are AVERAGES. If the number of hours YOU work is higher, it does not mean that the AVERAGE is wrong. All it means that in YOUR CASE the number is higher than the average. That’s why we look at this graph in the first place instead of making a conclusion ABOUT A WHOLE COUNTRY based on what some random guy from that country says about himself and maybe a few other people he knows.
Anyway, what’s interesting is not an absolute number of hours for one country (which is most probably is not 100% correct), but a comparison to other countries.
I agree with Guillaume. A higher number of working hours does not lead to a better productivity. Slave labor is not productive.

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Takis December 8, 2009 at 7:01 am

The default day work time in Greece is 44hours weekly.

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janny January 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Sorry, it’s not correct. In Spain all workers work at least 1750 hours per year.

What are you suggesting? That’s extremely low. However, it is probably this low because the national sport of Spain is sleeping.

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Michael January 26, 2010 at 5:44 am

Could you all be a little clearer with your responses. Those that claim to be working 45 or 50 hours per week, are you being paid for the extra hours, or is it just out of the goodness of your hearts?.

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Michael January 26, 2010 at 5:47 am

Is this extra hours on top of the 38 hours you are paid for?

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kitty February 12, 2010 at 5:08 pm

While interesting, the graph is quite misleading and should have instead used data on the mean average for full time workers- excluding vacation and leave allowance. Vacation and leave averages for full time workers should then have been a seperate graph. Only then can we get a sense of the reality and the extent that we are submitting to ludicrous workplace norms. BTW – the people here who work 60-80 hours – now that is just plain stupid and I don’t feel sorry for you.

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BP2 September 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

This graph is COMPLETELY wrong. I’m an average guy and my average work week is 50 hours with no overtime, vacation or holidays. Whoever gets 3 months worth of vacation/holiday a year shouldn’t be whining about working 40+ hours a week. So obviously my hours should count more towards the average than the average joe working their measly 30 hours per week including 3 months off for vacations to the Mediterranean Sea. My motto is ‘Live to Work…not Work to Live’

Tongue in cheek is working overtime right now.

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Shaun September 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

How the heck is China — THE WORLD’S REIGNING SUPERPOWER — not on this map!?? That alone destroys any claim to legitimacy. And as another comment pointed out, India is also absent. Cool useless map, bro.

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Debra Lee September 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

What a crock – I know no one in the Pittsburgh area (PA) that works an average of less then 40 hours per week. It’s 40 hours per week if you want to earn vacation time. You have to work 40 hours per week for 50+ weeks before you even earn vacation time. After 12 months. it’s more like: 40 x 50 weeks = 2000 – 80 (ten holidays per year; 8 hours each) = 1920 : 52 (weeks per year) = 37 average hours worked per week (it feels more like 77 instead of 37)!

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kaw001 October 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

Most of us who work more than 40hrs/wk in the US are not paid hourly. Generally, it is done to keep ahead of the competition. There are those, such as in Japanese companies who don’t leave until their boss leaves (I worked for Sony in the US). Our greates concern was, what if our boss died at his desk?

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Josh October 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm

This blog is really wonderful and very interesting. It catched my attention since the first time.

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Anon November 8, 2010 at 6:41 am

I know this is expired now, but even so…I work more (in an average week, not including overtime) than any of these averages. I’m guessing the unemployed were included? Otherwise I cant make sense of this. I work 45-50 hours on average…ok, I live in London, but that’s a normal, acceptable week. I’ve friends who work 80 hour weeks.Hell, even my elderly mother works longer weeks than most these averages.Its got to include the unemployed…I mean full time work is not 30 hours a week…or, if it is, I want to know where and hand a CV in…

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Raja November 21, 2010 at 11:03 pm

I am happy to tell you people that Indians work for 45-47 hr per week on an average. Though it’s bit on heigher side but I think it is OK.

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Hotels online March 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Wow, cool info. I think I am not in any group of this chart. I am a freelancer. :)

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anonimo June 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

ah eu quria saber quantas horas em media um arquiteto trabalha

obrigada

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SK January 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

why are so many only talking about how much they work and how they are way above the average and working so hard?

either 1. they’re not working hard enough because they are reading this at work and being unproductive (and hence needing to work those extra hours)
or 2. not being grateful that they get that much annual leave and time off and would rather work in a country where there is much less annual leave and flexibility in working hours

to them i say – conduct your own damn survey!

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