Canadians rank far down on list of work hours

South Korea, Turkey, Argentina top the list - Americans and Canadians seem to have best work-life balance

Canadians ranked third last in a list of countries surveyed about work hours.

Although Canadians may feel overworked, the hardest workers live in South Korea, who work, on average, 55.1 hours a week. They were followed by Turks (54.1 hours), Argentines (53.5 hours) and Taiwanese (53.4 hours).

Canadians ranked 29th on the list of 32, at 42.2 hours, just below the U.S. average of 42.4. The global average is 44.6 hours a week.

“In more modern, industrialized societies we’re beginning to see greater emphasis on balancing work and leisure, especially in countries like the U.S.,” said Tom Miller, a vice-president at Roper Starch Worldwide, the company that conducted the study. “France, with its highly socialized and regulated work structure, is the exception. The survey was based on 30,000 face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 consumers aged 13 to 65 in each of the 32 countries.

“At the same time, in free-market nations like Taiwan, where there’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit, long work weeks are the norm,” said Miller. “In countries like Turkey and Egypt, economic survival often depends on working long hours.”


Among people who work part-time, those in the middle east and Africa put in more time than workers in other regions, averaging 28.8 hours a week, compared with 21.7 hours in West Europe and 24.6 hours worldwide.

Men vs. women

Full-time working men around the world work nearly four hours a week longer than their female counterparts. Men work on average 46 ours, versus 42.2 hours for women. The biggest difference occurs in Egypt, where full-time working men rack up 55.6 hours a week, compared with 48.8 hours for women.

That trend is reversed in Vietnam, where women work 53.9 hours, vs. 52.8 hours for men, and Thailand (50.6 vs. 49.1). In the U.S., men work 44.1 hours compared with 40.1 for women.

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