A survey determined which employees in 24 countries are more inclined (and which ones are more reluctant) to use up all of the holidays granted by their organization. An article (The 14 Most Workaholic Countries In The World) equated the reluctance to go on vacation as a badge of workaholics. Here are the top 10 countries:
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3. South Africa
4. South Korea
5. United States
France, the most relaxed among the 24 countries covered, has 89% of surveyed employees using up all allotted holidays. In contrast is Japan, the most workaholic, with only 33% of workers using up all holidays granted by their organizations. The percentage for other countries, in order, are: South Africa (47%), Australia (47%), South Korea (53%), United States (57%), Canada (58%), India (59%), Brazil (59%), Sweden (63%) and China (65%). The survey ("Taking a Break: Employees in 24 Countries Tell Us if They Use Up All of the Holidays Granted by their Organization") of Ipsos Global and Reuters is based on 12,691 interviews in 24 countries comprising 75% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product. The Philippines is obviously not among the countries surveyed.
This is not the first time that the Japanese have been identified as the most workaholic. The Japanese, compared to other nationalities, will work more hours per week. The reason for this workaholicism is not merely economic, but also socio-cultural, with work considered as an end by itself. Work is an obligation to oneself and the society ("The workaholism phenomenon: a cross-national perspective," Snir and Harpaz). The same study also cited the known propensity in Western European countries (which includes France) to enjoy the pleasures of good life. This does not necessarily mean, however, that there's a low work ethic.
Incidentally, it's tempting to conclude that the most workaholic nation is also the least happy. In terms of happiness, or a positive outlook, the Philippines ranks 8th worldwide. A Gallup poll ranked the top 10 happiest countries: (1) Panama, 85%; (2) Paraguay, 85%; (3) El Salvador, 84%; (4) Venezuela, 84%; (5) Trinidad and Tobago, 83%; (6) Thailand, 83%; (7) Guatamela, 82%; (8) Philippines, 82%; (9) Ecuador, 81%; and (10) Costa Rica, 81%. Out of the 148 countries in the same 2011 Gallup survey, the least positive, or least "happy," country is Singapore, which ranks 5th in the world in terms of per capita GDP.
So, what do we see? Prosperous countries have strong work ethic, whether such work ethic is labelled as workaholism or some other term. The same thing could be said of entrepreneurs and individuals in general -- the successful ones have strong work ethic. Sure, workaholism, which basically means a substantial investment in work, has its dark side. The Japanese has a legally-recognized term for death from overwork: karoshi. As to happiness, maybe it's just a matter of working hard and playing harder. But it's a given that our workforce needs a strong work ethic for the Philippines to be competitive.
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