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Countries With The Lowest Wages Also Working The Most

  • Mexico simultaneously records the longest work week (41 hours) and the lowest wages ($8.25 USD per hour) of the OECD member countries
  • Denmark residents have the shortest work week at just 26.5 hours
  • Iceland has the highest average hourly rate at $46.87 per hour


An analysis into the labour force of 35 OECD countries revealed each nation’s work-life balance, with Iceland receiving the highest average wage ($46.87 USD per hour), Denmark taking out the shortest average work week (26.5 hours) and Mexico clocking in the longest (41 hours) at almost 15 hours more.

The study, performed by Compare the Market, reveals that despite working the least amount of hours in a week, Denmark still manages to maintain the fourth highest average hourly rate ($41.47).

The countries with the longest average work week

RankCountryAverage hours per week
2South Korea37.8

Workers in Mexico record the longest work week with 41 hours and the lowest average weekly wage at $338.34USD, making their hourly rate of $8.25USD the lowest across all countries.,

The average retirement age for Mexicans is above the OECD average for both men and women as well. Retirement for men in Mexico comes at 71.3 years (5.9 years above OECD average) and 66.5 years for women (2.8 years above OECD average).

The countries with the shortest average work week

RankCountryAverage hours per week

People in Denmark work the least number of hours per week (26.5 hours). Employment is well above the OECD average (68%), with 74% of people aged 15 to 64 maintaining a paid job. Only 2% of employees work ‘very long’ hours, which is well below the OECD average of 11%. Many full-time devote two-thirds of their day to personal care and leisure.

Both Denmark and the Netherlands rank in the top five countries for enjoying the best work-life balance in the OECD’s Better Life Index.

To find more information on the average wage and hours worked in OECD countries, visit

© Scoop Media

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