So you think you work too much? I know a lot of people that feel the same way and it made me wonder, how much do Americans really work as compared to the rest of the world? I decided to do some research on the subject and found exactly what I was looking for.
According to statistics the average hours worked each year from 1950 all the way through 2013 have changed substantially. I was very surprised to find out that we worked substantially more hours in 1950 than we do today; approximately 200 hours more a year and that equates to 5 additional full time weeks! I always thought of the 50’s as an “easy” time when people took life a day at a time and daddy was always home by 5:30 for the traditional family dinner but apparently that was not always the case.
How do we compare with the rest of the world today? The chart below represents the average hours worked by people living in France, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and of course, the U.S. As you can see we work fewer hours than ever before in our country and up until the early 80’s we actually worked less than the other 5 countries depicted on the graph. It was at that time that French and German workers began to work less than we do.
Did you notice the huge difference between us and the 3 Asian countries? Today workers in Hong Kong average about 2,350 working hours a year versus 1,700 for the average American worker. That’s an additional 650 hours or more than 16 additional full time weeks a year! Can you imagine doing 16 months worth of work in only 12 months? Well, if you are working 48 hours a week with 3 weeks off for vacations, holidays and personal days that’s exactly what you are doing!
What I find most surprising is that according to the chart American workers averaged only 1,700 hours of work time last year. Is that accurate? Based on the “3 week off scenario” that comes out to be less than 35 hours a week. I don’t think I know anyone that works only 35 hours a week and if I did I would love to know their secret. Apparently I didn’t get the memo!
So what country works the least? Believe it or not that would be Germany. A country that was once known for its exceptional engineering design skills and producing the finest cars in the world now works an average of only 1,400 hours a year or a stunning 28.5 hours a week. Hmmmm….. I wonder what it’s like to be a realtor in Germany?