Working 9 to 5, plus over time…

  4th August 2010      
 CIPD, Company News, Employment

**CIPD Work Audit reveals how UK employees see their working hours increase after a drop in 2009**

The amount of UK men working over 45 hours a week has fallen by nearly 10% after losing £1 million full time jobs and shifts to part time working following the beginning of the recession.

Yet the summer of 2009 revealed a low point in working time , but following this period, the number of employees who are working longer hours has begun to increase once again.

This has been illustrated in a new work audit ‘Working Hours in the Recession’ published by the Charted Institute of Personal Development (CIPD).

The official UK and EU results also showed that the recession caused both a drop in total employment (down by a net 580,000, 2% in the two years to spring 2010), and a move from full time employment (dropping by 910,000, 4.1%) to part-time employment (rising by 333,000, 4.4%). This move is down to lots of people working fewer hours in order to help their employers cut labour costs and therefore reduce the number of people being made redundant. The joint result of these shifts is a net fall of 32.7 million (3.5%) in the amount of hours worked every week by UK employees. Nevertheless, the total numbers of hours have now begun to increase once more, pointing to a modest, yet unlevel rise in the call for labour from the middle of last year.

There were 440,000 less men working over 45 hours a week back in the Spring of 2009 compared to two years previous (a net reduction of 9.4%). Male workers make up the main portion of the drop (11%), whereas females have who work for over 45hrs a week has not seen any net change; a small drop of women workers who work long hours is counterbalanced precisely by a rise in the amount of self-employed females who work long hours. In the summer of 2009, the lowest drop of male and female workers was reached. Since this period, the number of employees working over 45 hours a week has begun to ascend.

Many people believe that the majority of UK employees work very long hours, but this is inaccurate. In the spring of this year, there were the same amount of employees working in the UK between 16 and 30 hours a week as there were those working 45 hours +every week. In the last quarter of 2009 (the last period of the equivalent Eurostat figures are accessible) just 4 EU countries (Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands and Sweden) had less working weeks on average, compared to the UK.

Dr John Philpott, Chief Economic Adviser at the CIPD states,

“A marked shift to shorter working hours has been one of the key characteristics of the recession. But signs of an increase in long-hours working since the trough in hours in summer 2009 suggest that the fall in working time during the jobs downturn was a forced detox for Britain’s workaholics, most of whom will be eager to start putting in the hours again once the economic recovery gathers steam. HR managers mindful of the importance of a sensible work-life balance will need to determine whether a return to long hours working is the best outcome for staff or the organisations that employ them.”

The Work Audit Face File ‘Working Hours in the Recession’ is available for download here:

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