What you didn’t know about your working hours – 4 surprising facts from our work & pay report

Written by Payspective team

April 6, 2021

In short: (1) In some industries hours decrease over time while in others they increase over time. (2) Consulting is not well paid on a per-hour basis. (3) You can work up to 60h/week without feeling unhappy. (4) Working hours have increased during the pandemic.

While the majority of the population is working around 40h/week, things are a bit more complicated for white-collar professionals. Working hours are often longer and not always by choice. Compensation is often higher and (directly or indirectly) linked to working hours. And different industries have different patterns of hours. 

Reason enough to look at working hours for professionals in some more detail. Here are 4 surprising facts from our work & pay report, based on 35k+ data points (get it here).

1. Depending on where you work, your working hours will increase or decrease over the course of your career

There are two different stories and mindsets associated with working hours for different levels of seniority:

  • “The more senior you get, the more responsibility you have, the more you’ll work” → this holds true in startups and corporates
  • “The more senior you get, the more you can rely on juniors to do the grind and focus on giving high level direction” → this holds true for consulting and PE/VC

At Director level, working hours are quite similar, no matter where you work (e.g. 51h in corporates, 52h in startups, 54h in PE/VC). However, there are massive differences at Associate level (e.g. 45h in corporates vs. 63h in PE/VC). What that means is that there is a convergence effect – if you start out working a lot, you’ll likely work less as you progress. If you start out working little, you’ll likely work more as (or rather if) you progress. Read on here.

2. Taking working hours into account, consulting is not well paid

Working hours are long in Consulting, leading to a lower pay per hour than in many other industries.

While generally considered one of the best-paying industries (along with banking and legal), consulting is actually not that well paid on a per-hour basis. The long hours eat away at the attractive absolute pay and leave a mediocre (though still somewhat competitive) pay per hour.

At Associate level, consultants are paid an average of £31/h while professionals in startups make £35/h and in corporates even £49/h.

Time to move on? Maybe…

3. Working up to 60h/week has no negative influence on job satisfaction

Overall job satisfaction is pretty stable up to 60h per week. Hours 40-60 often go hand in hand with additional pay and professionals feel a real impact of putting in those extra hours.

Beyond 60, however, they start getting fed up – the marginal value of the 65th hour is low and work starts eating into the weekends and nights. And beyond 70, people just get plain miserable. They’re working 10h a day – every day of the week. Sleep is often sacrificed. Read on here.

4. Working hours increased during the pandemic

Working hours increased by 4% during the pandemic.

The average white-collar professional worked 51h/week in 2019 and 53h/week in 2020, meaning that the pandemic and work from home have meant an increase in working hours by 4%

In addition to that, professionals reported having difficulty to switch off from work after hours as they can’t leave their physical workspace. On the other hand, commuting times have been slashed.

Intrigued? There are lots more insights in our report. To receive it, simply click here.

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