Estonians work 500 hours more per year than Germans or Dutch

(AFP/Scanpix)
4/27/2015 11:20 AM
Category: Economy

Although the latest statistics shows that Estonians work a lot more than most other OECD countries, they fail to reap the economic benefits that the effort should entail. But why?

Ärileht reported that in addition to working the least hours, the Dutch also top the scales for the largest share of part-time employment, while Estonian employers are still not keen to distribute tasks between several part-time workers, even when high enough salary levels would make it possible.

"There are several groups in the labor market, who for some reason cannot work full time. A more flexible working arrangement would allow companies access to an additional labor resource," said Miko Kupts, an analyst with Praxis Center for Policy Studies.

On the other hand, what really matters is not how many hours someone works, but how this time is used. "Estonia's biggest problem is the fact that the structure of our economy and export have not changed in the last 10 years," he added. "It is still inclined toward producing things without adding much value. We have many companies that are too dependent on the needs of a single or few large customers they outsource for and on using cheap labor." The solution, he said, lies in education and directing people toward smarter, more creative jobs.

An average citizen of an OECD member state works 1,770.5 hours per year, whereas an average Estonian works 1,868 hours. The Dutch (1,380 hours) and the Mexicans (2,236.6), who occupy the opposite ends of the index, are separated by over 856 hours per year, which makes nearly 18 hours per week (more if we count in holidays). The Hungarians, Polish, Russians, Chileans, and Greek also work more hours than Estonians.

M. Oll

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