The number of hours that full-time employees work in a week or year varies greatly by country. In some countries, the average full-time workweek is under 40 hours, while in others it can be above 50 hours.
This is because workplace laws and conventions vary between countries. Some countries place a large emphasis on work-life balance and have laws and conventions that are more favorable towards workers. This often translates to shorter workweeks, more vacation time, and policies to help employees who are parents. Employees in these countries tend to have higher life satisfaction and less stress. On the other hand, some countries have much longer workweeks, resulting in lower life satisfaction and a workforce that can feel burned out.
Overworked employees are more likely to make mistakes on the job, have a lower quality of work, or be less productive due to exhaustion. While companies and managers often want their best employees to take on more work, but overworking them can backfire when it comes to their performance. Additionally, some employees may be overworked because they take on extra hours to make ends meet.
Most Overworked Countries in the World
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) collected data on the average annual hours worked for its member states. Average annual hours are calculated by the total number of hours actually worked per year divided by the average number of people in employment per year. Actual hours worked include regular work hours of full-time, part-time, and part-year workers, paid and unpaid overtime, and hours worked in additional jobs and excludes any time not worked because of holidays, sick or parental leave, schooling or training, and other factors.
Below are the ten most overworked countries in the world based on the average annual number of hours worked. Data is from 2018.
The average annual hours worked in Mexico is 2,148 hours, making it the most overworked country. The average workweek for full-time employees in Mexico is about 48.5 hours. About 28.7% of Mexican employees work over 50 hours per week. The average annual wages are only $16,298.
2. Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s average annual hours worked is 2,121 hours per year. Costa Rica’s average full-time workweek is slightly longer than Mexico’s at 48.6 hours.
3. South Korea
South Korea is the third-most overworked country in the world. South Korean’s work about 1,993 hours per year. In 2018, the South Korean government legislated to reduce the maximum working hours per week from 68 to 40 with 12 hours of paid overtime.
Russian’s are the fourth-most overworked employees in the world. Russia’s employees work an average of 1,972 hours per year.
Greece works an average fo 1,956 hours per year. The average full-time workweek is about 41.5 hours and 6.4% of employees work over 50 hours per week.
Chile ranks sixth for the most overworked countries. In a year, Chilean workers work an average of 1,941 hours. The average full-time workweek is 45.7 hours with 9.7% of employees working over 50 hours per week.
Israel’s average annual hours worked is 1,901.13 hours per year. The average workweek in Israel for full-time employees is 44.4 hours. About 15.5% of employees work over 50 hours per week.
The Czech Republic’s workforce works an average of 1,792 hours per year. The average workweek is about 40.3 hours and 5.7% of the workforce works over 50 hours per week. The average annual wages in the Czech Republic are only $26,962.
Polish employees work about 1,792 hours per year on average. The average workweek for full-time employees in Poland is 40.9 hours. About 6.0% of employees work over 50 hours a week.
10. United States
Finishing the top ten most overworked countries in the United States, whose employees work an average of 1,786 hours per year. Americans work about 41.5 hours per week on average, with 11.1% of employees working over 50 hours per week.