What Are the Most Hardworking Countries?

Updated on February 14, 2020
Margaret Pan profile image

Margaret has a bachelor's degree in International and European Studies. She has thoroughly studied global economy, history and development.

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The 5 Most Hardworking Countries

Have you ever wondered which country has the most hardworking people? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been compiling the average weekly working hours for workers in 35 countries around the world since 2000. Let's take a look at the top hardworking countries according to their latest data.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries. It was founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Country
Average Annual Hours Worked In 2017
Average Annual Hours Worked In 2018
Mexico
2148
2148
Costa Rica
2179
2121
Korea
2018
1993
Russia
1980
1972
Greece
1956
1956
Countries with the highest average annual hours worked

5. Greece

There is a stereotype of Greek people being lazy and getting tired easily. However, that's far from the truth, since statistics prove the exact opposite. Partly due to its economic crisis, Greece is now one of the most hardworking countries, taking up the 5th place among 39 countries. The average annual hours worked per worker was 1956 in both 2017 and 2018. Greece has the 50th largest economy in the world.

4. Russia

Greece is followed by Russia, with an average of 1980 hours worked per worker in 2017, which dropped to 1972 in 2018. Russia takes up the 11th place in the list of countries with the highest economies while the biggest field of employment in the country are physicians and healthcare workers.

3. Korea

Most people are probably not surprised to see Korea taking such a high place. Korea, the 12th largest economy in the world, scores the third place in the list of the countries with the highest average of annual hours worked per person, with an average of 2018 hours in 2017, which slightly dropped to 1993 in 2018. The five-day workweek was only introduced in South Korea in 2004, when the government implemented a five day, 40-hour (plus another 12 hours of overtime) law with the purpose of making people work less and reduce the pressure put on workers.

2. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the second most hardworking country of the world. Costa Rica workers worked an average of 2179 hours in 2017 and 2121 hours in 2018. However, their economy isn't one of the world's highest, since it ranks 76th.

1. Mexico

Mexico is the winner in the field of hard work, steadily ranking first on the list of the world's most hardworking countries, with an average of 2148 hours per worker both in 2017 and 2018. Mexico has also the 15th economy in the world, making this country the second-largest economy in Latin America. Due to the fact that many Mexicans receive less education, and therefore acquire lower skills and knowledge, most of them turn to the workforce.

What About the Countries With the Lowest Average Annual Hours Worked?

Due to the fact that Germany has the 4th largest economy of the world, many would be surprised to know that this country is also the one with the lowest average annual hours worked per person. In 2017, it had an average of 1360 hours, while in 2018, 1363 hours per worker. Germany is followed by Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Iceland.

Country
Average Annual Hours Worked Per Worker in 2017
Average Annual Hours Worked in 2018
Germany
1360
1363
Denmark
1405
1392
Norway
1419
1416
Netherlands
1438
1433
Iceland
1483
1469
Countries With The Lowest Average Annual Hours Worked Per Worker

A country's economic growth is measured by the increase in its total output or real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP of a country is the total value of all final goods and services produced within it over a period of time.

Why a Hardworking Population Doesn't Mean a Large Economy

After seeing the above statistics, a fair question someone could ask is why, although a country has an extremely hardworking population, it doesn't achieve significant economic growth.

Germany, for example, as mentioned above, is the country whose population works the least amount of hours; however, it has the 4th largest economy of the world. That's due to the fact that a country's economic growth is affected by multiple factors and not just labor. For instance, its natural resources and infrastructure, its level of technology and education or its laws and government are crucial factors that can either promote or limit a country's economic growth.

Source

Top Largest Economies of the World

Country
GDP (US$/billions)
United States
21,439,453
China
14,140,163
Japan
5,154,475
Germany
3,863,344
India
2,935,570
United Kingdom
2,743,586
France
2,707,074
Italy
1,988,636
Brazil
1,847,020
Canada
1,730,914
The Top 10 Largest Economies, According to IMF'S Latest 2019 Estimates

How Many Hours Should a Person Work?

Unemployment, and the lack of stability and security that comes with it, are directly linked to psychological distress and miserable living. On the other hand, overworking leads to extreme levels of tiredness and reduces a person's productivity. So, what's the ideal number of hours a person should work?

The majority of people work Monday through Friday from 9 to 5. That makes 40 hours a week. Whether that amount is less than the ideal, too much or just right hasn't yet been clearly answered by experts. There have been examples favoring all sides, making it a controversial issue.

Were You Surprised by Which Countries Were the Ones Who Made It to the top of the list?

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© 2020 Margaret Pan

Comments

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    • Margaret Pan profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Pan 

      4 months ago from Athens

      Thank you so much!

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      4 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Very good article as well as informative.

    • Margaret Pan profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Pan 

      4 months ago from Athens

      Thank you very much Bushra! It surprised me as well!

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      4 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      I would never have thought Germans work the least number of hours in the world - quite the opposite! Thank you for an informative and interesting read.

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