June 25, 2024

Who works the hardest? Dreaming of a perfect work-life balance…

Summer often makes matter of work-life balance more vital for us. We all crave that ideal equilibrium between work and personal time. The rise of new technologies promises the ability to work less while achieving greater efficiency, but does it hold true?

Experts at the CDP Center have been researching statistical data from European countries and are sharing some fascinating insights.

A key metric for measuring our work time is "average actual weekly hours." This metric reflects the number of hours actually worked per week in a primary job, including unpaid overtime spent on work activities.

The sectors with the longest average weekly work hours are Agriculture, forestry, and fishing (41.2 hours), Construction (38.8 hours), and Transportation and storage (38.2 hours). In contrast, those with the shortest weekly hours are Administrative and support service activities (33.3 hours), Arts, entertainment, and recreation (32.2 hours), and Education (31.8 hours).

A comparison of average weekly working hours across different sectors reveals a downward trend over the past decade. The most significant declines were observed in:

 Accommodation and food service activities: down 2 hours per week

 Wholesale and retail trade: down 1.4 hours per week

 Transportation and storage: down 1.3 hours per week

 Professional, scientific and technical activities: down 1.2 hours per week

 Financial and insurance activities: down 1.1 hours per week

 Arts, entertainment and recreation: down 1.1 hours per week

 Manufacturing: down 1 hour per week

However, agriculture stands as the only exception, with an average increase of 1.3 hours per week.

However, examining trends in working hours across various European sectors reveals a complex picture. If we analyze the dynamics of the length of the working week within the framework of the main activities in European countries, we will notice that despite the decrease in average values - in different countries, the trends were in opposite directions.

It is interesting that on average in European countries, entrepreneurs work more than employees (41.2 versus 35.1), and entrepreneurs with hired employees work even more, they work an average of 45.6 hours per week.

There are only 5 exceptions in which employees work more than entrepreneurs: Cyprus +2.7, Lithuania +2.5, Latvia +1.9, Estonia +1.6 and Romania.

The top 10 countries for the largest gap between the length of the working week of employees and entrepreneurs are: Belgium +15.5, Netherlands+15, France+ 14.4, Denmark +13.5, Austria +12.1, Ireland +11, 7, Germany +11.6, Finland +11.3, Italy +11 and Iceland +10.7. In all these countries, entrepreneurs with hired employees work much more than hired employees.

But over the past ten years, people working in all types of employment - hired employees, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs with hired employees began to work less on average:

 Employees: 35.1 working hour per week in 2023 (-0.7)

 Self-employed persons: 41.2 in 2023 (-1.6)

 Self-employed persons with employees: 45.6 in 2023 (-2.4)

Of course, based on the results of a review of statistics regarding the length of the working week, we can say that there is a trend towards a decrease in the number of working hours per week.

Can this be considered a positive trend? We believe this time can be well spent on self-development, family, and leisure. Still everything depends on each of us. The recipe for a perfect work-life balance is unique to each person!

We wish our readers a delightful and productive summer!

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