Updated date:

What Are the Most Hardworking Countries?

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

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.

Countries with the highest average annual hours worked

CountryAverage Annual Hours Worked In 2017Average Annual Hours Worked In 2018Average Annual Hours Worked In 2019

Mexico

2148

2148

2137

Costa Rica

2179

2121

2060

Korea

2018

1993

1967

Russia

1980

1972

1965

Greece

1956

1956

1949

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, and 1949 in 2019. Greece has also 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 and to 1965 in 2019. 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, 1993 in 2018, and 1967 in 2019. 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 in the world. According to OECD's data, Costa Rica workers worked an average of 2179 hours in 2017, 2121 hours in 2018, and 2060 in 2019. 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 and of 2137 in 2019. 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.

Countries With The Lowest Average Annual Hours Worked Per Worker

CountryAverage Annual Hours Worked Per Worker in 2017Average Annual Hours Worked in 2018Average Annual Hours Worked in 2019

Denmark

1405

1392

1380

Norway

1419

1416

1384

Germany

1360

1363

1386

Netherlands

1438

1433

1434

Iceland

1483

1469

1454

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.

which-are-the-most-hardworking-countries

Top Largest Economies of the World

The Top 10 Largest Economies, According to IMF'S Latest 2019 Estimates

CountryGDP (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

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.

References

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Margaret Pan

Comments

Margaret Pan (author) from Athens on July 15, 2020:

This article does not reflect my personal opinions, it analyzes the statistics based on surveys that the OECD has been conducting. India isn't included in the top 5.

Imran ali on July 13, 2020:

How can you miss India.

Margaret Pan (author) from Athens on March 06, 2020:

Thank you so much!

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on March 06, 2020:

Very good article as well as informative.

Margaret Pan (author) from Athens on March 04, 2020:

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

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 04, 2020:

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.