Average Work Week by Country 2022

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Around the world, the average workweek can range from less than 40 hours to close to 50 hours. Workweek length varies greatly from one industry to another and from one country to the next. Those countries with a cultural emphasis on work/life balance and adequate leisure/family time generally have shorter official workweeks and more vacation days. These countries also trend toward more generous overtime compensation, more worker-friendly regulations, more favorable parental leave laws, and an increased chance of landing on the list of the world's happiest countries. By comparison, those countries with longer workweeks, fewer worker protections. and reduced amenities tend to have lower life satisfaction and rank as less happy overall.

Top 10 Countries with the Longest Workweek (in hours — Penn World Table, 2019 data)

  1. Cambodia — 47.6
  2. Myanmar — 47.1
  3. Bangladesh — 46.5
  4. Singapore — 44.8
  5. Malaysia — 42.3
  6. South Africa — 42.1
  7. China — 41.7
  8. Philippines — 41.7
  9. Hong Kong (China SAR) — 41.3
  10. Dominican Republic — 41.2

Average Workweek by Country

As the Economic History Association points out, determining the average hours worked per workweek in a given country compared to another can be a challenging task due to differing philosophies on what activities qualify as work and who is considered a worker. However, with enough data to compile and consider, trends do emerge. As a rule, more high-income countries such as Germany and France enjoy shorter workweeks than do middle-income and developing countries. It is likely that work weeks in the low-income and least-developed countries are the longest of all, at least for those people who can find work, but reputable data are often difficult to obtain. A 2020 analysis by 24/7 Wall Street evaluated the average hours worked per week throughout 2018 by dependent (meaning not self-employed), full-time (30+ hours/week) employees in 37 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). An updated analysis using more recent 2020 data can be seen below.

Top 10 Countries with the Shortest Workweek (in hours — OCED 2020 data)

  1. Denmark — 25.9
  2. Norway — 26.3
  3. Germany — 25.6
  4. Netherlands — 26.9
  5. Iceland — 27.6
  6. France — 27.0
  7. Luxembourg — 27.4
  8. Uruguay — 29.5 (2019)
  9. Ecuador — 29.8 (2019)
  10. Switzerland — 28.8

Country profiles: 5 countries with the shortest workweeks

According to the OECD data, the country with the shortest workweek in the world in 2020 was Denmark, which often also ranks as one of the happiest countries in th world. Located in Northern Europe, Denmark is known for creating the concept of "hygge," pronounced "hoo-gah," which the country's tourism portal describes as "creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people." A July 2021 government report stated that Denmark is seeking to address a shortage of workers in fields including education, health care, IT, computer science, and engineering, as well as skilled positions including business professionals, bookkeepers, machinists, construction workers, and food service professionals.

Norway, the country with the second-shortest workweek in 2020, is also seeking tech professionals such as software engineers and hardware developers, as well as engineers who specialize in the energy sector (oil & gas, wind, hydropower). Norway is also known to have the safest drivers in the world, which could serve as a comfort to professional drivers seeking to relocate. Next comes Germany, the country with the largest economy in Europe—and one of the lowest unemployment rates. While Germany has far fewer worker shortages compared to many of its European neighbors, professionals including software developers, electrical engineers and fitters, mechanical engineers, medical professionals, IT professionals, and economists have a good chance of finding work.

The Netherlands, another of the world's happiest countries, boasts a profile quite similar to Germany's. Netherlands has quite low unemployment and is seeking workers in many of the same fields, with an arguably greater emphasis on civil engineers and ICT professionals. Rounding out the top 5 is Iceland, often considered the most peaceful country on Earth. Iceland's job market is small—the total population is roughly 340,000 people—but is in particular need of workers in the healthcare, construction, IT, and tourism industries.

Country profiles: 5 countries with the longest workweeks

Among the countries with the longest workweeks, the prevailing trend is that most, if not all, are economies that have yet to fully mature. For example, Cambodia, the country that averaged the longest work week of all the countries measured, is still reliant upon foreign aid. World Bank points out that Cambodia's 80% rate of employment is higher than the average for East Asian countries (63%). World Bank further estimates that the Cambodian economy can continue to expand if the country diversifies its exports, better supports small businesses, improves integration between industries (for instance, by utilizing domestically produced fabrics in the garment industry instead of importing them), and emphasizes training to develop a more skilled workforce. All of these concerns could be classified as the growing pains of a still-developing economy.

Similarly, Myanmar is in the process of evolving from an agricultural economy to one centered around industry and service, but World Bank has determined that the quality of jobs available has not yet fully caught up with this transformation. Bangladesh, on the other hand, is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is quickly approaching middle-income country status, with more and more people rising above the poverty level. However, work hours are still long. Singapore has long workweeks but is also one of the freest economies and most prosperous nations in the world. In contrast to many countries with long workweeks, Singapore has a highly developed economy. Malaysia is another promising story, with an economy that is growing quickly and among the most competitive in the world. Malaysia may soon become a high-income country.

Here are the 10 countries with the most working hours in 2019:

  1. Cambodia (47.60 hours)
  2. Myanmar (47.10 hours)
  3. Bangladesh (46.50 hours)
  4. Singapore (44.80 hours)
  5. Malaysia (42.30 hours)
  6. South Africa (42.10 hours)
  7. China (41.70 hours)
  8. Philippines (41.70 hours)
  9. Hong Kong (41.30 hours)
  10. Dominican Republic (41.20 hours)

Average Work Week by Country 2022

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Average Work Week by Country 2022

* Data is from average annual total hours divided by 52.
Rank Country 2020 weekly avg (OECD) 2019 weekly avg (PWT) 2018 weekly avg (PWT) 2017 weekly avg (PWT)
1Cambodia0.0047.6047.6047.60
2Myanmar0.0047.1047.1047.10
3Bangladesh0.0046.5046.5046.50
4Singapore0.0044.8044.3044.90
5Malaysia0.0042.3042.3042.30
6South Africa0.0042.1042.1042.30
7China0.0041.7041.7041.70
8Philippines0.0041.7041.7041.70
9Hong Kong0.0041.3041.3041.30
10Dominican Republic0.0041.2041.2041.20
11Mexico40.9041.1041.3041.30
12Peru0.0041.1041.1041.10
13Vietnam0.0041.0041.0041.00
14India0.0040.8040.8040.80
15Thailand0.0040.2040.2040.20
16Taiwan0.0040.1040.2040.20
17Costa Rica36.8039.8040.9042.00
18Greece33.2039.2039.3039.30
19Poland34.0038.9038.5039.00
20Indonesia0.0038.8038.8038.80
21South Korea36.7038.1038.2038.70
22Colombia41.8037.9037.9038.00
23Pakistan0.0037.8037.8037.80
24Russia36.0037.8037.9038.10
25Sri Lanka0.0037.0037.0037.00
26Chile35.1036.8037.3037.60
27Malta35.1036.8036.8036.50
28Israel34.3036.6036.8036.90
29Lithuania30.7036.3036.2036.10
30Portugal31.0035.9035.9036.00
31Latvia30.3035.9036.5036.30
32Turkey33.3035.2035.2035.20
33Croatia35.3035.2034.8035.10
34Cyprus32.7034.7034.8035.00
35Estonia31.8034.6034.8035.70
36Romania34.5034.5034.4034.30
37Czech Republic32.8034.4034.4034.30
38New Zealand33.4034.2034.0033.70
39Ireland33.6034.1034.3034.10
40United States34.0033.9034.1033.90
41Australia32.4033.2033.3033.40
42Hungary31.9033.2033.2033.60
43Italy30.0033.0033.1033.10
44Brazil0.0032.8032.8032.90
45Slovakia30.2032.6032.8033.00
46Japan30.7032.5033.3033.50
47Canada31.6032.5032.8032.60
48Spain30.3032.4032.6032.50
49United Kingdom26.3032.1032.0032.10
50Bulgaria30.9031.6031.6031.60
51Austria26.9031.0031.0030.90
52Argentina0.0030.9031.5031.70
53Sweden27.4030.9031.2031.20
54Finland29.4030.6030.7030.80
55Slovenia29.1030.6030.7031.20
56Belgium28.5030.5030.4030.30
57Switzerland28.8029.9030.0030.20
58Ecuador0.0029.8030.2030.10
59Uruguay0.0029.5029.5029.50
60Luxembourg27.4029.0029.0029.00
61France27.0028.9028.8028.90
62Iceland27.6028.0027.9028.20
63Netherlands26.9027.7027.6027.60
64Germany25.6026.7026.7026.80
65Denmark25.9026.6026.6027.00
66Norway26.3026.6026.6026.60

Average Work Week by Country 2022

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