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In Europe, the average working week is 36 hours

Apart from these geographical differences, the Eurostat research shows that actual weekly working hours vary between men and women.

Published: Jun 8, 2024 09:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Jun 8, 2024 10:18:05 AM IST

In Europe, the average working week is 36 hoursIn the European Union, men working full-time averaged 39.8 hours a week in 2023. Image: Shutterstock

Do the French work less than their European neighbors, as is often claimed? A recent Eurostat study sheds some light on this question, revealing the number of hours worked per week by Europeans, country by country. As it happens, French workers fall within the EU average.

French people aged 20 to 64 worked 36 hours a week in 2023. In this respect, France is on a par with the European average (36.1 hours per week). Conversely, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany are the European countries with the shortest working weeks (32.2, 33.6 and 34 hours respectively).

Greece stands out as the country in Europe with the longest working week, at 39.8 actual hours of work. It is followed at the top by Romania (39.5 hours) and Poland (39.3 hours).

Generally speaking, countries in the north and west of the European Union work less than 37 hours a week, with the exception of Portugal (37.7 hours). Those east of Germany, Austria and Italy have averages above 37 hours, excluding Estonia (36.4 hours).

Apart from these geographical differences, the Eurostat research shows that actual weekly working hours vary between men and women. In the European Union, men working full-time put in 39.8 hours a week in 2023, compared to 37.8 hours for women.

The full-time working women with the longest working weeks in Europe are found in Romania (39.5 hours), Latvia (39.4 hours) and Greece (39.3 hours). Among men, those in Greece, Cyprus and Poland work the longest weeks (42.5, 41.3 and 41.1 hours respectively).

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Interestingly, the number of weekly hours worked is not correlated with gender in the case of part-timers, since, at EU level, both men and women worked 22 hours a week in 2023.

Unsurprisingly, workers' sector of activity also has a strong influence on their weekly working hours. Europeans working in agriculture, forestry and fishing have the longest working weeks, averaging 41.5 hours. Conversely, those working in education (31.9 hours) or arts and leisure (33 hours) put in far fewer hours per week.