UK: Deloitte Monday Briefing: Who Are Europe’s Hardest Workers?

Last Updated: 21 October 2013
Article by Ian Stewart

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017

* According to an opinion poll carried out by the PEW Foundation earlier this year people in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Poland believe the Germans are Europe's hardest workers.

* The dissenting voice came from Greece, where people think that Greeks work the hardest.

* The Greeks are, in fact, right. The average Greeks worker puts in 2034 hours per year, the longest in Europe. Only Koreans and Mexicans work longer among the 35 countries surveyed by the OECD.

* German's work 1393 hours a year, 28% fewer than the Greeks. Only the Dutch work less.

* So why do people think that Germany is a nation of hard workers when it's the Greeks who put in the longest hours?

* The answer sheds light on what it is that makes nations rich.

* National income depends on productivity and the size and quality of the labour force.

* Productivity measures the efficiency with which resources are used. Germany is streets in this respect. It takes a Greek worker one hour and 41 minutes to produce what a German makes in an hour.

* Productivity is the basic driver of prosperity; raising levels of productivity is the holy grail of economic policy. Doing so is a complex, uncertain and long term venture. Productivity is influenced by a vast range of factors, everything from education, to technology, the quality of public institutions and infrastructure.

* Even the structure of Greece's economy operates to depress productivity. A relatively high proportion of Greeks work in tourism or agriculture, sectors which are labour intensive but tend not to produce high levels of output per hour worked.

* By contrast, richer countries have a greater presence in high productivity sectors such as manufacturing, finance, technology and business services.

* Workers in rich countries tend to work fewer hours each year than workers in poorer countries. The causation on this probably works in both directions. As incomes rise people tend to trade pay for leisure time. And workers who avoid long hours are probably also more productive when they are at work.

* The US is the conspicuous exception to this rule. In America productivity is high and people put in long hours. This may reflect the fact that, since the 1970s, rising levels of US GDP have not improved real incomes for a large proportion of people on middle and lower incomes - Middle America works hard because incomes are not rising.

* An additional factor affecting GDP across economies is the level of workforce participation. The more people who work, the higher the level of national income.

* For those in work in Greece hours are long, but many people do not work. 51% of Greeks of working age are in employment, far lower than Germany's workforce participation rate of 73%. In particular, women are less likely to go out to work in Greece than in many other European countries. On average Greeks retire rather two years earlier than across the rest of the OECD.

* Raising productivity and getting a bigger share of the population into work have enabled Germany to become a rich country with a short working week. It is an approach which can be seen in much of the rest of Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia.

* Unsurprisingly, in its drive to get growth going the Greek government wants to boost productivity and remove barriers to work.

* The PEW survey suggests that people associate high incomes with hard work. The reverse, is in fact, true. People in rich countries tend to work shorter hours than those in poor countries.

MARKETS & NEWS

UK's FTSE 100 rose by 1.3% over the week, following the re-opening of US government and positive growth figures from China.

Here are some recent news stories that caught our eye as reflecting key economic themes:

KEY THEMES

* The US Senate and House of Representatives voted to end the partial government shutdown and extend America's debt ceiling into early next year
* Investors believe US fiscal tightening is currently the biggest 'tail risk', according to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Survey
* The Chinese economy recorded annual growth of 7.8% in Q3 2013, up from 7.5% in the previous quarter
* The Bank of England ran its first ever Twitter Q&A session, answering questions on issues ranging from forward guidance to polishing gold bricks
* The Bank of England's chief economist, Spencer Dale, said on Twitter that economic conditions are unlikely to improve enough to merit an interest rate rise in 2014
* UK energy supplier Centrica announced an average rise in energy prices of 9.2%
* Advertising spending grew at the fastest rate in the UK rose at the fastest rate in 13 years in Q3 2013
* The South Korean won, which can act as a proxy for US growth because Korea exports so much to America, rose to a 9-month high against the dollar after the agreement to end the US government shutdown
* Global sugar prices rose to their highest levels in over a year after a warehouse controlled by Brazil's largest sugar trader caught fire on Friday morning
* The annual crime survey shows that there were 3.7m recorded crimes in England and Wales in the year to June 2013, the lowest level since the current method of recording offences began in 2002/03
* Gaming revenues from the six companies with casino licences in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau reached $38bn in 2012, making the market six times bigger than that of Las Vegas
* Latest figures from the Council Mortgage Lenders (CML) showed gross mortgage lending in the UK rose at an annual rate of 32% in Q3 2013
* British retail sales in Q3 2013 registered their largest quarter-on-quarter rise since March 2008, with strong sales of furniture and household items
* The chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, António Horta-Osório, warned that government initiatives to increase mortgage availability must be accompanied by efforts to boost housing supply in order to prevent a "substantial increase in house prices"
* Sales of vinyl records doubled to 550,000 this year and are at their highest level for 12 years, driven by popular releases from bands such as Daft Punk and David Bowie
* Shares in eBay, the ecommerce and payments company, dropped more than 5% after the company said that it expects to see slower growth in the fourth quarter, with a fall in online shopping in the US
* Greece's "troika" of international creditors asked the Greek government to adopt further austerity measures, after identifying a potential €2bn shortfall in the latest budget draft submitted by the Greek government
* Banks are more exposed to their domestic government bonds than at any time since the start of the eurozone crisis according to analysis from the FT
* The Pew Research Centre reported that the under 30s are reading more books than they were 10 years ago due to the rise of e-books and tablets
* Chancellor George Osborne announced that Chinese companies will be permitted to buy into the British nuclear sector
* Chinese inflation rose at an annual rate of 3.1% in September, approaching the government's "upper limit" of 3.5%, with most of the rise attributed to rising fruit and vegetable prices
* The Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar produced more oil in the last 3 months than ever before according to data from the International Energy Agency
* Applied Graphene Materials, a manufacturer of the newly developed "wonder material" graphene, announced plans to float on the Aim market, with the company citing forecasts for total graphene demand to increase tenfold by 2017
* Wonga, the online payday lender, acquired BillPay, a German online payments processor, for an undisclosed fee
* Shares in Tweeter, a bankrupt electronics retailer, briefly rose 1,800% on October 4th as some investors mistook its trading ticker symbol "TWTRQ" for "TWTR", the shorthand chosen by Twitter ahead of its stock market flotation – twit who?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.