Koreans Still Work Longest Hours in OECD

      January 15, 2015 08:18

      Koreans still work almost the longest hours in the world, according to the latest statistics.

      Per-capita annual labor data compiled by the OECD shows Koreans working 2,163 hours a year, second only to Mexico's 2,237 hours.

      The thrifty Dutch had the shortest annual work hours at 1,380, followed by Germany's efficient 1,388 hours, Japan's 1,735 and the U.S.' 1,788 hours.

      But Koreans are not particularly productive in all the time they spend at work, suggesting that more leisure might improve their focus.

      Experts have long been saying that Korean businesses need to change both their corporate culture and wage system. The focus of performance evaluations must shift from hours logged at the office to tasks accomplished. Simply clocking in at 8 a.m. and working until 10 p.m. without focusing on the quality of work does not seem to improve productivity.

      Korea's pay system, which actually promotes overtime work, is another problem. Kwon Tae-shin of the Korea Economic Research Institute said, "The extra pay for overtime work or working on holidays can amount to 50 percent of the salary, which is a lot higher than in other countries like Japan."

      Kwon added that this prompts workers to spend as much time as they can sitting around in the office without necessarily achieving anything.

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