Most Overworked Countries 2021

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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.

1. Mexico

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.

4. Russia

Russian’s are the fourth-most overworked employees in the world. Russia’s employees work an average of 1,972 hours per year.

5. Greece

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.

6. Chile

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.

7. Israel

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.

8. Czech Republic

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.

9. Poland

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.

Here are the 10 most overworked countries:

  1. Mexico (2148 work hours per year)
  2. Costa Rica (2121 work hours per year)
  3. South Korea (1993 work hours per year)
  4. Russia (1972 work hours per year)
  5. Greece (1956 work hours per year)
  6. Chile (1941 work hours per year)
  7. Israel (1910.13 work hours per year)
  8. Poland (1792 work hours per year)
  9. Czech Republic (1792 work hours per year)
  10. United States (1786 work hours per year)

Most Overworked Countries 2021

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Most Overworked Countries 2021

Note: Chart displays average total hours worked per year.
Country Hours 2018 Hours 2017 Hours 2016 % Change 2021 Population
Mexico2148214821460.09%130,262,216
Costa Rica21212178.92204.7-3.80%5,139,052
South Korea199320182068-3.63%51,305,186
Russia197219801974-0.10%145,912,025
Greece1956195619420.72%10,370,744
Chile194119541974-1.67%19,212,361
Israel1910.131917.981922.08-0.62%8,789,774
Czech Republic1792178417790.73%10,724,555
Poland179218151836-2.40%37,797,005
United States1786178017810.28%332,915,073
Ireland1782173817392.47%4,982,907
New Zealand1756175317520.23%4,860,643
Estonia174817921791-2.40%1,325,185
Hungary1741.11741.31760-1.07%9,634,164
Italy1722.617191721.70.05%60,367,477
Portugal172217271725-0.17%10,167,925
Canada1708169517060.12%38,067,903
Spain17011690.21701.5-0.03%46,745,216
Latvia169916951709-0.58%1,866,942
Slovakia169817141740-2.41%5,460,721
Japan168017091714-1.98%126,050,804
Australia1665.041674.91673.4-0.50%25,788,215
Lithuania161616081644-1.70%2,689,862
Slovenia1602.81621.71652.9-3.03%2,078,724
Switzerland156115701589.7-1.80%8,715,494
Finland155515561560-0.32%5,548,360
Belgium1545154515450.00%11,632,326
United Kingdom153815431545-0.45%68,207,116
France152015221526-0.39%65,426,179
Austria151115111512-0.07%9,043,070
Luxembourg150615071513-0.46%634,814
Sweden147414701482-0.54%10,160,169
Iceland146914831494-1.67%343,353
Netherlands143314351438-0.35%17,173,099
Norway1416.41419.11424.4-0.56%5,465,630
Denmark139214051412-1.42%5,813,298
Germany1362.61360.41362.8-0.01%83,900,473

Most Overworked Countries 2021