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Despite Long Hours, Russians Named Among World’s Least Productive Workers

Mikhail Koninin / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The productivity of the Russian workforce is among the lowest of the world’s major economies, despite long hours spent at work, according to a new report on labor productivity.

Russia has adopted several programs to boost productivity over the last few years as slow economic growth has left many ordinary Russians for economic security. A poll by the Levada Center in April 2018 found many Russians were most unhappy with President Vladimir Putin over the unequal distribution of wealth in the country.  

Among the world’s 37 top economies, data comparing GDP to hours worked ranks Russian productivity near the bottom, according to an annual report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released Wednesday.

Russian workers generated from around $23 to $25 of GDP per hour worked, or half the average of OECD members ($47-$52) in 2016, which include the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden, among others.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Russians spent an average of 1,980 hours at work per person per year, the fifth largest amount of hours spent on the job. Only Mexicans, Costa Ricans, South Koreans and Greeks work longer hours, the OECD’s data shows.

Russians’ don’t see the impact of their long hours in improved living conditions: Russia ranked ninth from the bottom in the OECD’s measure of how work impacts living conditions.

The OECD’s 2018 Employment Outlook chalks this up in part to how inequality has exacerbated worldwide in the years since the 2008 financial crisis. From 2008 to 2009, Russia saw an economic recession exacerbated by falling oil prices.

“While jobs are mainly back, only some fortunate few at the top are also enjoying improvements in earnings and job quality,” the OECD report wrote. The result of the lopsidedness of the recovery from the 2008 crisis, it warned, would be “growing dissatisfaction.”

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