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Countries that have the longest working hours

There’s often an assumption that working hours are rising, that people are working overtime with few hours left in the day for leisure, relaxation and ‘me’ time. Historical data suggests that working hours in many countries have in fact declined over the years, particularly those in which #hustle and #grindset culture is celebrated.

Since the years of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, working hours in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe have steadily declined. In 1870, the annual working hours per worker in the USA was 3,096 hours. In 2017, this figure had reduced drastically to 1,757 hours.

The countries today with the longest working hours are (in annual working hours per worker):

  1. Cambodia 2,456 hours
  2. Myanmar 2,438 hours
  3. Mexico 2,255 hours
  4. Malaysia 2,238 hours
  5. Singapore 2,238 hours
  6. Bangladesh 2,232 hours
  7. Costa Rica 2,212 hours
  8. South Africa 2,209 hours
  9. Hong Kong 2,186 hours
  10. Thailand 2,185 hours

The countries with the longest working hours are primarily in Asia (70% of the top 10). Society is fighting back in Asian countries where working hours encompass much of a person’s time. In China, anti 996 culture is taking hold. 996 refers to company hours from 9am till 9pm, 6 days a week; equivalent to at least a 60 hour work week. In Japan and South Korea, the terms Karoshi and Kwarosa are used respectively to denote “death by overworking”.

Source of data: Our World in Data

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