The top 10 most productive countries in 2022

Krista Krumina 2.02.2023

Note: Find the updated top 10 most productive countries ranking here.

  • Cameroon was the world’s most productive country in 2022 with an average employee productivity of 94.1%.
  • Central and South American countries continued to dominate the top with several countries from the region making the list of top-performing nations.
  • In 2022, the least productive country was Iran, with an average productivity of 38.6%.
  • Despite the ongoing war, the Ukrainian workforce managed to maintain high productivity levels – at 76.0%.

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Yet another year has come to an end, so it’s time to look back and reveal the top 10 most and least productive countries in the world.

The world saw a lot of changes in 2022. It was the year when in most countries the Covid-19 restrictions were fully lifted and part of the employees rushed back to the office for the workplace vibe, social contact, and office perks. Some decided to stick to fully remote work, while the majority opted for the best of both worlds – the hybrid workplace model.

Parallel to our continuous search for the ideal work model, there were a number of other challenges that affected our focus and productivity in 2022 – from the geopolitical turmoil in Europe to the looming economic recession and the subsequent wave of layoffs. 

What impact did all of these events have on the world’s productivity rankings? Get ready to find out. But before we dive in, let’s take a moment to understand how we gathered the data.

How we got the data

In 2022, DeskTime was used by close to 500,000 users from all over the world. To ensure accurate and comprehensive results, our sample includes countries with at least 100 users and at least 40 hours of tracked data per user per year, on average.

Russia and Belarus were excluded from the rankings this year – as of Mach 9, 2022, DeskTime is no longer available in these countries.

The final sample consisted of 92 countries. All our studies are fully anonymous. 

What is “productivity” at DeskTime?

At DeskTime, productivity is defined as time spent on productive websites, programs, and apps – meaning, the time doing work-related things – divided by the total time spent at the computer, and then expressed as a percentage.

The most productive countries in the world, 2022

Here’s a list of countries with the highest productivity in 2022, compared to 2021:

1Cameroon (94.1%)Uruguay (94.3%)
2Nicaragua (93.9%)El Salvador (93.0%)
3Guatemala (93.8%)Argentina (84.0%)
4Uruguay (93.1%)Peru (83.1%)
5Morocco (92.6%)Malta (81.8%)
6El Salvador (92.4%)Qatar (80.9%)
7Puerto Rico (92.3%)Costa Rica (80.0%)
8Spain (89.8%)Ecuador (78.9%)
9Uganda (89.8%)Israel (72.1%)
10Albania (89.6%)Australia (71.4%)
Most productive countries in the world, 2022

With average employee productivity of 94.1%, the Central African country Cameroon claims the first place in our top most productive countries of 2022. Central American countries Nicaragua (93.9%) and Guatemala (93.8%) come second and third, respectively.

The US was the 15th most productive country in the world in 2022 – the country’s average productivity was 87.3%. 

Overall, Central and South American countries still dominate the top 10 list of the most productive countries. This year, there are five countries from the region, compared to last year’s six.

The most productive country in Europe – and 8th most productive country globally – was Spain with average productivity of 89.8%. Albania follows close with 89.6%, and Croatia ranked third with 89.1%.

Ukraine, a country torn by war throughout 2022, has managed to maintain its productivity at 76.0% and ranked 17th in Europe and 59th globally. In fact, Ukrainians have improved their productivity by 24.6% compared to 2021.

# in Europe# globally2022
18Spain (89.8%)
210Albania (89.6%)
311Croatia (89.1%)
412Malta (88.7%)
517the Netherlands (86.8%)
934United Kingdom (81.6%)
1759Ukraine (76.0%)
Productivity of European countries, 2022

The least productive countries in the world, 2022

Now, let’s take a look at the least productive countries from last year:

1Iran (38.6%)Russia (45.4%)
2Mongolia (41.9%)Portugal (49.5 %)
3Nigeria (47.7%)Moldova (49.5%)
4Nepal (55.8%)Ukraine (51.4%)
5Cambodia (56.4%)Finland (51.9%)
6Dominican Republic (57.4%)France (55.5%)
7Kenya (58.1%)Pakistan (56.8%)
8Vietnam (58.4%)Netherlands (57.1%)
9Austria (60.3%)Germany (57.2%)
10New Zealand (62.7%)Bangladesh (58.6%)

The least productive country in 2022 was Iran with an average employee productivity of 38.6%. It’s followed by Mongolia (41.9%) and Nigeria (47.7%).

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Iran being the least productive country in 2022 comes as no surprise. There are widespread human rights protests taking place in the country, with women fighting for equality, including equal access to employment.

Meanwhile, Europe, which dominated the top 10 least productive countries list last year with eight countries, is only represented by one country this year. Did Europeans desperately need the full or partial return to the office? We can’t answer for sure, but it definitely looks like it.

Wrapping up

The year 2022 wasn’t easy on anyone. But despite the uncertainties, most countries managed to maintain and even improve their productivity levels. 

For the third year in a row, the top 10 most productive countries were dominated by Central and South American nations. These regions are often highlighted in the global context as regions with low productivity and slow growth of gross domestic product (GDP). However, DeskTime data shows that the country’s knowledge workers are one of the most dedicated and hard-working in the world.

The least productive countries, including Iran, on the other hand, reveal the pressing need for addressing systemic issues such as human rights, access to education, and more. It’s clear that the productivity of a country is also a reflection of its political and social environment.

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