How do working hours in Switzerland compare to the rest of the world?

How do working hours in Switzerland compare to the rest of the world?

A new report has revealed how much people in Switzerland work compared to the rest of Europe and the world. Experts found that while Swiss jobs are some of the most demanding on the continent when it comes to working hours, they pale in comparison to the amount people work further afield.

7,922 billion hours of work completed in Switzerland last year

According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, 7,922 billion hours of work were completed in Switzerland in 2022, an increase of 1,3 percent compared to the year before. Through their data, the government calculated that people in the alpine nation work roughly 40 hours a week on average.

However, experts noted that the hours worked vary hugely by industry and sector. In Swiss banking, finance and insurance, for example, staff worked an average of 41,4 hours a week, while those in the so-called "primary sector" (agriculture) tended to work 45 hours a week.

Working hours in Switzerland the second highest in Europe

The data means that people in Switzerland work some of the longest hours in Europe, adding to previously released Eurostat data - which unlike the FSO report does not take workplace absences into account, which is why the numbers are higher - that showed that the Swiss worker tends to be on the clock for 42,4 hours a week on average. 

This places the alpine nation second in Europe behind Turkey, where staff work for 42,9 hours a week, and far ahead of its immediate neighbours like workers in Germany (34,7), Austria (35,7), Italy (37,3) and France (37,1). For reference, workers in the Netherlands have the shortest working weeks in Europe, coming in at just 31,3 hours on average.

By global comparison, jobs in Switzerland relatively lenient on working hours

However, Watson noted that by global standards, jobs in Switzerland are relatively lenient when it comes to working hours. Using data from the OECD, it was found that those plying their trade in Colombia spend the most time at work. In the South American nation, the average person spends 2.405 hours a year on the job, 876 hours a year more than the average Swiss worker.

Colombia was followed by Mexico (2.226 hours), Costa Rica (2.149) and Chile (1.963), with Dutch, Norwegian, Danish and German workers found to work the least - largely as a consequence of the popularity of part-time and hybrid working in these countries. Globally, the study found that Swiss workers spend the 33rd most amount of time at work.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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