Do you work harder than Mark Zuckerberg?

Business owners are characterised by their hard work and dedication. Putting in the hours is a fact of business life, but how do you stack up against other professions? Do you work harder than a teacher or an airline pilot? How about Ronaldo or Mark Zuckerberg? See how your working week compares below.

Airline pilots

Coming in with the lowest clocked hours on our list are airline pilots. A mix of long shifts and lengthy downtime, pilots have lots of time to chill out between flights, averaging a measly 20 hours a week.

Before you start thinking they’re lazy, this is due to limitations set out by the European Aviation Safety Authority. Pilots, along with all cabin crew, can only fly 100 hours in any 28 day period, and 1000 hours in any 12 months. Keeping them fresh for everyone’s safety is obviously good news for passengers, but considering much of a long-haul flight can be done on autopilot, I’ll be googling local flying lessons first thing tomorrow.


  • 20 hrs per week
  • 1000 hrs per year

UK employees

Based on the 9-5 lifestyle popularised by Dolly Parton, the average full-time employee in the UK works 37 hours a week. That’s slightly lower than the US (40) but much higher than the Netherlands (30). Interestingly, the Dutch also have the tallest men in the world. Is that just coincidence?

Almost certainly.


  • 37 hours per week
  • 1,717 hours per year

Professional footballer

Love him or loathe him, there’s no denying Cristiano Ronaldo puts in a lot of effort. The morning hair gel routine alone must take a couple of hours. According to fansite, Ronaldo usually trains for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Add on 3 hours per match, and you get a gruelling 26 hours a week of playing football.

He’s also known to put in a lot of extras, such as crunching sit-ups while he watches TV, and practice dives in his kid’s paddling pool. With such hard graft, it’s no wonder he’s managed to stay so humble over the years.


  • 26 hours per week
  • 1248 hours per year


There’s been a lot of debate about the working hours of teachers over the years. Many look on enviously at their long summer holidays and half term breaks. When it comes to term time though, there’s no denying teachers put a shift in. A BBC study found that primary school teachers work 59.3 hours a week on average, ahead of their secondary school counterparts on 55.7.  

While those term time figures would put them top of our list, when you look at the annual hours, those 13 weeks holidays drop them down to 3rd. That gives teachers a B+ overall. Satisfactory, but room for improvement.   


  • 59.3 hours a week
  • 2,312 hours per year

Small business owners

Without a big team to support them, business owners have to wear many hats. They cover accounts, operations, sales, marketing, customer service and stock, and that’s just in the morning. Many hats means many hours, and business owners clock up a weighty 50 hours a week on average.

Small business owners are also found to take only 17 days holiday a year, compared to the statutory 28 for employees. That adds up to 2,430 hours a year, edging out teachers by just over 100 hours. Paying the cost to be the boss, getting the skills to pay the bills, the hard work from business owners has earned second place on our list.


  • 50.5 hour per week
  • 2,430 hours per year

Mark Zuckerberg & Corporate CEOs

If you want the big bucks, you’re going to have to work long and hard for them. Coming in top of our list, the average corporate CEO works a whopping 57.8 hours a week. That’s 10-11 hours a day, plus a bit at the weekend. They’re also early risers, with 80% up before 6am, and 97% before 8am.

Mark Zuckerberg says he works 50-60 hours a week, but never really disconnects “If you count all the time I’m focused on our mission, that’s basically my whole life.” Whether that means he’s constantly planning in his spare time, or just checking his facebook feed to see if his gran has liked his holiday pics, we can’t be sure. What’s for certain though, is that while CEOs are handsomely remunerated, they do at least put in the hours to earn their corn.  


  • 57.8 hours per week
  • 2716 hours per year

Are you working too hard? Read our guide to being smart with your time.

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