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The Netherlands Has The World's Shortest Working Week

The Netherlands Has The World's Shortest Working Week

The statistics show that if you're living in Europe you're likely to be working less than counterparts in other areas of the globe

Simon Catling

Simon Catling

Unhappy at work? If long working hours are a chief factor behind that, maybe you should consider trying to move to the Netherlands.

A recent infographic from Bamboo HR taken from statistics by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has shown that the country enjoys the world's shortest working week for business professionals.

In the Netherlands, women there typically working an average of 25 hours a week, while men work 34 hours a week.

This gives an overall average of a 29-hour working week - near enough a four-day working week.


If you want to compare that with how we get on in Britain, then those working in the Netherlands enjoy nearly eight hours more free time than we do, with the UK's average working week clocking in at 37 hours.

The Netherlands also enjoys a pretty high employment rate of 76 percent, so getting a job there in the first place might be pretty doable.

There is the whole pandemic thing to work around, mind you. Oh, and Brexit. Small issues.

Looking at either end of the spectrum, it seems that - of the countries included - Iceland has the highest employment rate at 86 percent, even though their working hours are quite long at an average of 39 hours per week.

Contrast that with South Africa where their employment level is only at 43 percent, with those that do work getting through an average of 43 hours work per week.


Spare some sympathy for those working in Turkey and Colombia, too, who have the longest working weeks in the world of the countries included, averaging out at 48 hours per week.

Turkey also has the largest difference between me and women working, with 70.7 percent of men in employment in the north eastern Mediterranean country, compared to just 32.2 percent of women.

If there's a correlation to be drawn from all this data, it's that if you're working in Europe the chances are that you're working shorter hours than in any other continent.

Fifteen of the 16 countries that have less than average working weeks are European, and given the relative states of their economies, perhaps the argument being made for shorter working weeks globally is a valid one.


Or perhaps they're able to work shorter weeks because they're well off. Who can say?

Of course, the length of time you work per week is far from the only factor that might cause employee unrest.

There are plenty of other things to consider, like insufficient rewards for good performance, a toxic culture in the work environment, lack of control and career growth, poor leadership above your position, and an overload in work.

Nevertheless, it's still interesting to note these differences - whatever might seem to be the working norm in your country is often anything but.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Work, World News