Who really works the hardest in the world?

DrStrange

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Some of the recent political dust ups got me to wondering who works the hardest in the world, measured by the hours worked per worker. (Noting that a nation with higher workforce participation and/or higher population and/or higher productivity might have more work done even if the total hours per worker is less.) There are two very different notions being put forward about American workers - full time workers in America work very long hours, perhaps the most in the world. But when you filter in the hours of part time workers, America is more middle of the road.

The national numbers I found seemed shocking, certainly not what I expected. My numbers come from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, better known as the OECD (mostly 2014 data). They are self reported, the OECD does not intrude into national economic reporting. It would be normal for truly questionable numbers to be flagged (and in today's world it would be rather hard for a nation to pretend to have an economy twice as it really is and not get laughed at.)

The hardest working people in the world? Not on my top twenty guesses - Mexico where an average Mexican worker puts in 2,228 hours a year on the job or about 43 hours per week.

Second place goes to South Korea where the average worker puts in 2,163 hours per year.

Third place - another shocker. Greeks work the longest hours in Europe, clocking in 2,042 hours a year in 2014, which works out to about 39 hours per week.

Rounding out the top five are Chile and Russia where workers put in an average of 1,990 and 1,985 hours a year per worker respectively, or about 38 hours per week.

Where is the USA? 1,789 hours per year makes our workers number 16 world wide among nations that self report to the OECD.

World wide average of OECD countries is about 1,770 hours per worker. So workers in the USA work 1% more than an average worker world wide.

Who works the least? Workers in Germany work the shortest hours of all OECD countries. The average worker there puts in just 1,371 hours a year or 26 hours per week.

Nothing like what I expected. Greeks work 50% harder than Germans. Mexicans work 25% harder than Americans. Could be JEB was right, Americans might need to work harder just to hold steady.

DrStrange
 

MaxB

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Do you think teachers in the US brings that value down? We have a lot of kids in the country requiring a lot of teachers ....who have summers off (180 day/yr schedule)?
 

gopherblue

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Or Jeb is absolutely full of it (generally), with the same old, proven-wrong ideas, and we'd need to have our collective heads examined to elect another Bush after two disastrous Bush presidencies. What is the definition of insanity again? Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result? No thanks. That family has already done enough to us.
 

DrStrange

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Teaches are 2.5% of the workforce in the USA - that is the easy part. ( 2.5% = one in fourty)

How many hours do they work? Well, does grading papers at home count as work? Does eating lunch guarding the cafeteria count as work? How about parent teacher time? How about continuing education? How about prep time? Let say teachers work 50 hrs/week nine months a year and take three months off. That is 1,950. Lets take three extra weeks off for school vacations (which might not be right) so that is 1,800 hours per year or a little more than average for the USA. And there will be some teachers who take summer school or work a part time job bringing up the average.

So I guess that teachers aren't bringing down the average, I think they are bringing it up.

DrStrange
 

jbutler

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Or Jeb is absolutely full of it (generally), with the same old, proven-wrong ideas, and we'd need to have our collective heads examined to elect another Bush after two disastrous Bush presidencies. What is the definition of insanity again? Doing something over and over again and expecting a different result? No thanks. That family has already done enough to us.

or maybe you should have YOUR head examined for not supporting the ONLY guy in the race who is actually willing to show his own EXCITEMENT! about his CANDIDACY! right in his own LOGO! JEB!

jeb-bush-logo-hed-2015.jpg
 

DrStrange

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And for what it is worth, JEB is telling American workers an unhappy truth.

Workers are not going to get paid better because the "one percenters" got a tax cut.
Workers are not going to get paid better because the workers became more productive.
Workers are not going to get paid better because the economy grew.

All of these things happened in a huge way since 1980 and the average worker is essentially no better off financially today than they were under Jimmy Carter. It is notable that neither Republican nor Democratic Presidents or congresses found ways to help the average worker in substantive ways. Best they could do is tread water for 35 years. And perhaps that WAS a good result given the circumstances.

Your employer is not going to pay you better. Your government is going broke but would not help you even if they could. If you want a higher income, you will need to work longer hours often at a second or third job.

I don't know if this is a message that would make people vote for him, but it is sadly the truth for Americans in aggregate.

DrStrange
 

jbutler

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And for what it is worth, JEB is telling American workers an unhappy truth.

Workers are not going to get paid better because the "one percenters" got a tax cut.
Workers are not going to get paid better because the workers became more productive.
Workers are not going to get paid better because the economy grew.

All of these things happened in a huge way since 1980 and the average worker is essentially no better off financially today than they were under Jimmy Carter. It is notable that neither Republican nor Democratic Presidents or congresses found ways to help the average worker in substantive ways. Best they could do is tread water for 35 years. And perhaps that WAS a good result given the circumstances.

Your employer is not going to pay you better. Your government is going broke but would not help you even if they could. If you want a higher income, you will need to work longer hours often at a second or third job.

I don't know if this is a message that would make people vote for him, but it is sadly the truth for Americans in aggregate.

links to Jeb! addressing these issues? or do you just mean that these opinions should be extrapolated from his statement regarding longer hours?
 

MaxB

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Teachers at 7.5 hrs/day x 180 = 1350/yr While they do work above the norm and put a ton of extra time in, my guess is what is reported is paid/official work (though I may be wrong). If this is the case, then US isn't as bad as it seems though still better than average. I work 50 hr weeks but Uncle Sam only see's 40 (especially since I am salary)
 

NiceShot

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Teaches are 2.5% of the workforce in the USA - that is the easy part. ( 2.5% = one in fourty)

How many hours do they work? Well, does grading papers at home count as work? Does eating lunch guarding the cafeteria count as work? How about parent teacher time? How about continuing education? How about prep time? Let say teachers work 50 hrs/week nine months a year and take three months off. That is 1,950. Lets take three extra weeks off for school vacations (which might not be right) so that is 1,800 hours per year or a little more than average for the USA. And there will be some teachers who take summer school or work a part time job bringing up the average.

So I guess that teachers aren't bringing down the average, I think they are bringing it up.

DrStrange
Spot on. I am married to one and she also works weekends on top of what you described to build lesson plans, etc. Throw in the others activities you mentioned (teacher parent conferences, tutoring, grade level meetings, staff meetings) you mentioned and the hours easily are 50+... We also spend a lot each year out of our own pockets to provide what the schools can't afford for paper, pencils, binders, copies, curriculum planning, etc.

Even though she is supposed to be "off" for the summer so to speak she is in training classes as we type and prepping curriculum for the new standards.

I guess unless you experience it first hand sometimes it's easy to trivialize someone else's work.
 

abby99

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Just wondering how many hours our Senators and Representatives work each year, on average. (Campaigning doesn't count IMHO).
 

Payback

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Do you think teachers in the US brings that value down? We have a lot of kids in the country requiring a lot of teachers ....who have summers off (180 day/yr schedule)?

Teachers at 7.5 hrs/day x 180 = 1350/yr While they do work above the norm and put a ton of extra time in, my guess is what is reported is paid/official work (though I may be wrong). If this is the case, then US isn't as bad as it seems though still better than average. I work 50 hr weeks but Uncle Sam only see's 40 (especially since I am salary)

Summers off, lol. I've "officially" been off since June, but since then I've had maybe one or two days off, weekends included. I'm currently teaching two university courses, played for a wedding last week (on the 4th of July...) and working on curriculum and scheduling in-between those things. Yes, I've had more flexibility with my hours, but I'm hardly off.

Also, it's not like I'm thrilled that two months out of every year I'm basically forced to be off of work. I would much prefer to work 12 months of the year and collect a full 12 months salary that would come with it. Let's not even get into the research behind why summers are terrible for students, etc.



Teaches are 2.5% of the workforce in the USA - that is the easy part. ( 2.5% = one in fourty)

How many hours do they work? Well, does grading papers at home count as work? Does eating lunch guarding the cafeteria count as work? How about parent teacher time? How about continuing education? How about prep time? Let say teachers work 50 hrs/week nine months a year and take three months off. That is 1,950. Lets take three extra weeks off for school vacations (which might not be right) so that is 1,800 hours per year or a little more than average for the USA. And there will be some teachers who take summer school or work a part time job bringing up the average.

So I guess that teachers aren't bringing down the average, I think they are bringing it up.

DrStrange

I'd even venture to say that 50 hours a week for a teacher in session is the minimum that the could get by with. Don't forget going to basketball games, concerts, or prom into the equations. Sometimes they are required because they need chaperons, and other times it is just good practice to build better relationships with the students. Grading, emails, phone calls, planning, etc. take a considerable amount of time, most of which is behind the scenes. Especially if you have a parent or two who are high maintenance that send you emails every day. Another thing I've found is that the only time someone "notices" planning is when the lesson doesn't go well.


Spot on. I am married to one and she also works weekends on top of what you described to build lesson plans, etc. Throw in the others activities you mentioned (teacher parent conferences, tutoring, grade level meetings, staff meetings) you mentioned and the hours easily are 50+... We also spend a lot each year out of our own pockets to provide what the schools can't afford for paper, pencils, binders, copies, curriculum planning, etc.

Even though she is supposed to be "off" for the summer so to speak she is in training classes as we type and prepping curriculum for the new standards.

I guess unless you experience it first hand sometimes it's easy to trivialize someone else's work.

+1000. Hell, my own father used make comments about how nice it must be to be off for the summer, until both my brother, my wife, and I became teachers and he saw how much work we did on top of everything. I also told him to come spend some time in my classroom, which he did one afternoon with me assisting with a project on simple machines. The comments stopped after that and he hasn't been back since.
 

dennis63

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Teaches are 2.5% of the workforce in the USA - that is the easy part. ( 2.5% = one in fourty)

How many hours do they work? Well, does grading papers at home count as work? Does eating lunch guarding the cafeteria count as work? How about parent teacher time? How about continuing education? How about prep time? Let say teachers work 50 hrs/week nine months a year and take three months off. That is 1,950. Lets take three extra weeks off for school vacations (which might not be right) so that is 1,800 hours per year or a little more than average for the USA. And there will be some teachers who take summer school or work a part time job bringing up the average.

So I guess that teachers aren't bringing down the average, I think they are bringing it up.

DrStrange


Most of the teachers I know also work a second job in the summer -- usually full-time. I wonder if this is counted in the total. (I would assume it is based on some consistent monitoring factor, like Social Security wages earned per quarter, or something similar to come up with total hours.)

I did, however, know a guy who worked in banking. He took nearly every Friday off, and most Mondays. He had a reason he felt they "couldn't fire him." Perhaps he was right.

All I know is given the numbers from Dr. Strange, I've been working too much.
 

rowlin

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I once got to see the hardest working man in show business. That dude could move.
 

slisk250

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Do you think teachers in the US brings that value down? We have a lot of kids in the country requiring a lot of teachers ....who have summers off (180 day/yr schedule)?

Don't get me started! Ok, others started I'll pile on.

I just completed my 25th year in the classroom (10th overseas) The reasons that Kalani and I left US public education were largely economical. The rest lie in working conditions and how we are viewed by the populous...no respect. It's nice to to go a bar for happy hour and overhear people bashing teachers, then when they ask what you do for a living you answer with, "I work.'" The original comment about teachers wasn't necessarily mean spirited but it provides an example of how many people view educators. Summers off, vacations, etc...are you friggin kidding? In addition to all of the correct comments made by Dr. Strange & Niceshot, here are a few more. Teachers are required to continually take courses to keep their certifications with no help from their districts. We must submit for level 1 FBI fingerprint clearance at our own cost. I have to continually redo the tests because apparently Arizona and the FBI are too stupid to look into the database every 6 years. More easy to just make teachers pay for it.

"Public servant"...I don't think so. I'm a professional educator, have 2 university degrees plus 96 semester hours above a Master's (PhD too expensive). I work with thousands of oil engineers, lawyers, financial executives and have EXACTLY the same leave package they do. I must work the same schedule every year. The oil sector employees seem confused when they learn we are working during the summer. My point being that the public in the Western world is under the illusion teachers only work 180 days a year. It's completely false.

So next will be the question if teachers work so hard why do our schools suck? Hard to answer but Big George gives it a shot here.

 

Payback

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Don't get me started! Ok, others started I'll pile on.

I just completed my 25th year in the classroom (10th overseas) The reasons that Kalani and I left US public education were largely economical. The rest lie in working conditions and how we are viewed by the populous...no respect. It's nice to to go a bar for happy hour and overhear people bashing teachers, then when they ask what you do for a living you answer with, "I work.'" The original comment about teachers wasn't necessarily mean spirited but it provides an example of how many people view educators. Summers off, vacations, etc...are you friggin kidding? In addition to all of the correct comments made by Dr. Strange & Niceshot, here are a few more. Teachers are required to continually take courses to keep their certifications with no help from their districts. We must submit for level 1 FBI fingerprint clearance at our own cost. I have to continually redo the tests because apparently Arizona and the FBI are too stupid to look into the database every 6 years. More easy to just make teachers pay for it.

"Public servant"...I don't think so. I'm a professional educator, have 2 university degrees plus 96 semester hours above a Master's (PhD too expensive). I work with thousands of oil engineers, lawyers, financial executives and have EXACTLY the same leave package they do. I must work the same schedule every year. The oil sector employees seem confused when they learn we are working during the summer. My point being that the public in the Western world is under the illusion teachers only work 180 days a year. It's completely false.

So next will be the question if teachers work so hard why do our schools suck? Hard to answer but Big George gives it a shot here.

Slisk, didn't realize you were a teacher as well. I'd be curious to hear more about your experiences oversees in more detail (another thread or PM, before we derail this one too far) if your up for sharing as I'm always interested in what the rest of the world is doing with education.

Shouldve just went for the doctorate with 96 hours above your masters. Hell I have mine only 72 hours afterwards. Although the dissertation felt like a lot more [emoji12]

Also, I'm glad you piled on. I'm sick and tired of hearing how easy it is to be a teacher. If it's so easy then why isn't everyone doing it? Oh wait, you get paid like shit, have no respect, and have to deal with everyone who "knows" how to do your job better than you just because they went to school.
 

DrStrange

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My oldest son became an bi-lingual elementary school math teacher in East Texas. The pay his first year was so low and the conditions so bad he switched to graveyards at Walmart after one year on the job. This is Texas, other states don't have such a poor opinion of teachers - but he felt the Walmart job was a step up in social status and clearly an increase in compensation at $11.35/hr.

DrStrange
 

slisk250

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Arizona's per pupil spending when I left was 48th in the USA, only Mississippi and Utah spent less, but we like to spend money on jails/prisons. I worked at Scottsdale Chaparral High School and we used to have fun comparing our parking lot to the student lot. I remember a conversation I had with an outstanding young student when I rolled up on a road bike. After teasing me about the lycra she asked why I rode my bike to work. I told her that it kept me in shape and out of the traffic jams plus I saved money on gas. "How much gas money can you save", she asked. I lived 27 miles from work and it was $7 less every day I rode and that paid for a home dinner each time I did it. Times have changed since those days. I miss the bike ride but not much else.
 

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My oldest son became an bi-lingual elementary school math teacher in East Texas. The pay his first year was so low and the conditions so bad he switched to graveyards at Walmart after one year on the job. This is Texas, other states don't have such a poor opinion of teachers - but he felt the Walmart job was a step up in social status and clearly an increase in compensation at $11.35/hr.

This is legitimately the saddest thing I've read on this board in quite a while. Hope your son is well, Strange.
 

MaxB

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Keep in mind I was not knocking on teachers, but rather questioning if that might be part of the reason the US had a lower number.....I am married to a teacher turned director, who works at a private daycare (80 to 90 kids). They work all year and make burger King wages because society doesn't value early childhood education. Even as director, she makes less than a grade school teacher and does not have the benefits and only a couple weeks off for vacation. Any teachers here with a master's degree want to work for 12-15/hr?

So on that note, back to my original thought, according to the govt, teachers work 180 or so days at 7.5 hrs ....which could affect the lower number.....assuming they get data from tax data. Myself and former coworkers used to put in 100+ hrs of OT per month..which is unpaid because we are salary and would not show on the data.
 

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Keep in mind I was not knocking on teachers, but rather questioning if that might be part of the reason the US had a lower number

I always thought, at least when comparing us with European nations, that the U.S. workers received a lot less vacation/sick/personal time, we don't get mid-afternoon siestas, etc. Can our social programs/assistance be a significant factor in these numbers (i.e. the ones of us who are working are working more and harder because we're paying to support social security and other assistance programs for those who aren't working or who are underemployed?)

Are salaried employees and their hours factored into this? How do we compare with under-the-table workers, etc?

Personally I feel that the work day should be 6 hours and the work week 4, maybe 5 days. I think as a nation we need more social, luxury and personal/family time than we have now.
 

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Were there any EU or APAC countries ranked higher than the US? Reason I ask is because my company has employees in several EU & APAC countries and they are limited by their countries' laws to work less than 40 hours per week (often ~35 hours), and they enjoy significantly more vacation than the US. The work/life balance in the EU and some APAC countries is basically nationally mandated (and I'm not saying that's good or bad, just that I'd be shocked if a country like France or England was ranked above us in that poll).
 

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Just wondering how many hours our Senators and Representatives work each year, on average. (Campaigning doesn't count IMHO).

This may come as a shock to most people, but congresscritters work very long hours, both in DC and back in their districts. And you can't discount campaigning, especially for representatives, because with two-year terms, they're *always* campaigning. Their staffs work even longer hours, as do most full-time staffers of DC non-profits.

My wife has been both a congressman's staffer and an officer of a healthcare non-profit for as long as we've been together (over 25 years). She has never worked less than a 60 hour week unless we're on vacation; on vacation, she only works about 30 hours a week. And I am not exaggerating.

I am *so* looking forward to her retirement next year...
 
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