In OECD, Turks work longest hours, are least happy

Turks spend the longest hours at work among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the country is the world’s least happy industrialized nation, according to the latest quality of life survey by the organization.
The OECD released its Better Life Index on Wednesday, revealing that Turkey was at the bottom of the ranking on 36 industrialized countries in terms of life satisfaction. The major factor that the leading international organization cited for Turkey being the least happy OECD member was that the country fared poorly in work-life balance indices. Accordingly, the amount of time a Turkish person spends at work is 1,855 hours a year — almost 100 hours more than the OECD average of 1,765 hours. In Turkey, the OECD said, 43 percent of employees work very long hours. It has by far the highest percentage of people who work very long hours in the OECD, where the average is 9 percent. Long working hours in the country remain a decade-old problem, also bringing such troubles as work-related accidents along with it.

Forty-seven percent of men and 33 percent of women work very long hours, the OECD added.
Another critical factor related to work-life balance is salary. Turks earn much less than the OECD average per year, the OECD finds. In Turkey, people earn $17,460 per year on average while the OECD average is $41,010. “Not everyone earns that amount, however,” the OECD report said, adding that the top 20 percent of the Turkish population earn an estimated $23,035 per year while the bottom 20 percent live on an estimated $7,334 per year, revealing how poorly Turkey performed in distribution of wealth.

As the OECD highlighted in its report, long work hours may impair personal health and jeopardize work safety, and this actually appears to be the case in Turkey. In the first three months of 2014, a total of 276 workers died in work-related accidents in the country according to a recent report on job safety by a local union.

Another essential factor of employment quality is job security, the OECD added, noting that Turkish workers face a 7.8 percent chance of losing their job, much higher than the OECD average of 5.3 percent. The organization said relatively few workers benefit from social security in Turkey.

The OECD found that in Turkey, the average household income per capita is lower than the OECD average of $23,938 a year. In terms of employment, 49 percent of people ages 15 to 64 in Turkey have a paid job, less than the OECD employment average of 65 percent, it added.

In key Turkey findings, the OECD said the country performs well in only a few measures of well-being and ranks low in a large number of topics relative to most other countries.

In general, the OECD report said Turks are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 61 percent of Turks saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is much lower than the OECD average of 76 percent, the report underlines.

In references to the level of education and women’s participation in education, the OECD report said 32 percent of adults ages 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much lower than the OECD average of 75 percent. This also was the lowest rate amongst OECD countries. Noting that 36 percent of men have successfully completed high school compared with 27 percent of women, the report highlighted that women’s participation in higher education should be strengthened in Turkey.

In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 462 in reading literacy, math and science in the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), lower than the OECD average of 497, the report added.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Turkey is 75 years, five years lower than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 77 years and 72 for men.

Overall, Australia was at the top of the list followed by Norway and Sweden, the second and third happiest members respectively. The full list can be found at
The OECD website says it polled more than 60,000 users around the world who have shared their views on what makes for a better life for the Better Life Index. The OECD ranked members according to 11 separate criteria in the index.

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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