The modern work environment is a complex and ever-changing landscape, with factors such as technology, globalization, and social expectations all playing a role in shaping the way we work. As a result, the concept of a standard workweek has become increasingly blurred, with many individuals now working beyond the traditional 9 to 5 to achieve their goals and make a livelihood.
While this shift has brought about many benefits, such as greater flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, it has also raised questions about the culture of overworking and its impact on employees. As a result, it begs the question: how prevalent is overtime work worldwide?
The team here at Business Name Generator has analyzed worldwide data on the average hours worked per week in each country and the percentage of workers working 49 or more hours per week to find out where worldwide have the hardest working employees. The study also examines which US states, UK cities and London boroughs are the hardest working.
By analyzing these factors, we have gained valuable insights into the cities that prioritize hard work and productivity, and how these values impact the economy and the quality of life of the people who live and work there.
Malta is the world’s hardest working country
We analyzed over 150 countries worldwide to reveal the regions working the hardest based on a hardworking index score out of 10 ranking the average hours worked and prevalence of excessive working time.
According to our study, Malta has earned the top spot as the hardest-working country worldwide, with a hard-working index score of 8.8 out of 10. A staggering 91% of workers are logging 49 or more hours per week in Malta, the highest out of all countries studied.
The second-hardest working nation on the list is Bhutan, a country nestled in the Himalayas. Here 53.9% worked a staggering 50.7 hours per week. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranks third for hardest working residents, with an average working week of nearly 53 hours but a lower percentage of workers working over 49 hours a week (46.5%).
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issue of countries working long hours. By taking a multi-faceted approach that involves government regulations, cultural shifts, and employer responsibility, it may be possible to address this issue and improve the well-being of employees worldwide.
On the other end of the spectrum, countries such as Israel, Austria, Netherlands, and France appear at the bottom of the ranking, with shorter work weeks and minimal overtime contributing to this. While this may suggest a more laid-back approach to work in these nations, it may also reflect a commitment to work-life balance and a focus on personal well-being.
Slough is home to the UK’s hardest workers
We analyzed over 120 towns and cities to reveal the hardest working regions across the UK determined by the average work hours, overtime, productivity levels, and employment rates. All cities and towns were scored out of 10.
Our research has identified Slough in Berkshire as the location with the hardest working employees in the UK. With an average of 35.7 paid working hours per week, Slough has the second-highest number of paid working hours in the country, coupled with the highest level of productivity at a rate of 160 Gross Value Added (GVA) – which is 60% higher than the UK average of 100.
Litchfield ranks second for hardest workers in the UK, with the highest average paid overtime rates in the country at 2.3 hours per week per employee. Basildon and Solihull follow closely in third and fourth place, respectively.
In contrast to Slough’s hard-working reputation, Leicester appears to be at the other end of the spectrum. According to our analysis, Leicester has one of the lowest averages of paid overtime rates in the UK, with only 0.5 hours per week on average. In addition to low paid overtime rates, Leicester also has low productivity levels, with a Gross Value Added (GVA) of 90. This indicates that employees in Leicester may not be as efficient or productive as those in other regions of the UK.
Hardest Working London Borough
Our study also analyzed the London boroughs with the hardest workers. The City of London, perhaps unsurprisingly, came out on top with the area being the economic center for London’s trade and commerce.
With a 100% employment rate, workers in this area work the most paid hours on average (36) and achieve the highest productivity levels (186 GVA). However, they record the lowest average of paid overtime hours (0.2).
Brent and Hounslow come in second and third place, respectively. Brent is home to the employees who work the most paid overtime on average (2.1), while workers in Hounslow achieve some of the highest productivity levels (164 GVA).
|Rank||Boroughs||Paid work*||Paid overtime*||Productivity levels||Employment rates (%)|
|1||City of London||36.0||0.2||185.77||100.00|
|5||Hammersmith and Fulham||33.6||n/a||122.98||79.90|
Utah is home to the hardest workers in the US
We have also analyzed the US states with the hardest working employees. We have looked at metrics such as hours worked, productivity, unemployment rates and business start-up and survival statistics. All states were scored out of 10.
Utah has emerged as the top-ranking state in the US for the hardest working residents, according to our study. Yet, this state boasts some of the lowest unemployment rates, coupled with workers who log some of the longest average paid working hours in the country.
Following Utah, California and Washington state take the second and third spots, respectively, in the ranking for the hardest working states in the US. California has seen a remarkable rise in business applications in the last year, registering an impressive 14.2% increase. Meanwhile, Washington state leads the US in productivity rates, with a GVA of 130, and has also witnessed a 12% rise in business applications from February 2022 to February 2023.
On the other hand, Alaska ranks at the bottom of the list as the state with the least hard-working employees. This state has the lowest average number of paid working hours, coupled with the lowest productivity levels in the US.
West Virginia is placed second from the bottom for the hardest working states in the US. The workers in this state log some of the lowest average paid working hours, but their main downfall in this ranking is the state’s business applications and business survival rates, which are some of the lowest in the US.
Methodology and sources
To reveal the hardest working UK cities and US states, we analyzed ONS and BSL Government data to score each region on several metrics including average work hours, overtime, productivity levels, employment rates, and more.
Alongside the UK and US rankings, we have also created a global analysis, which includes data from the International Labour Organization on the average working hours and the number of workers that regularly work overtime in each country.