Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 19, 2014
version 8, draft 8

10% of UK Workers Want Fewer Hours for Less Pay

Some interesting data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that approximately 10% of  workers (2.9 million ) want to work for fewer hours, with less pay (the ‘overemployed’). Many of us feel that we are working too many hours for not enough pay; however, which are the professions where people want to work fewer hours, for less pay?

Percentages of overemployment in the UK by occupation

Managers, Directors and Senior Officials

13.5%

Professional Occupations

13.9% 

Associate Professional and Technical Occupations

9.6%

Administrative and Secretarial Occupations

10.3%

Skilled Trade Occupations

8.9%

Caring, Leisure and Other Service Occupations

7.1%

Sales and Customer Service Occupations

6.1%

Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

9.5%

Elementary Occupations

4.4%

Source: ONS

 

Takeaways:

1. Those in professional occupations have the highest level of overemployment

According to the ONS data, 13.9% of workers in professional jobs are overemployed. Doctors and dental practitioners, psychologists and pharmacists fall into this group, which has the highest levels of overemployment. People who are employed in senior executive roles, such as managers and senior executive officers, also report high levels of overemployment (13.5%). Also included in this category are workers employed in “protective services" such as the army and the police force.

 
2.  Low paid jobs such as those in elementary (low skill) positions hae low overemployment levels

From the study we can deduce that the higher the skill requirement and the higher the pay, the higher the overemployment. Those in low pay, low skill ’elementary’ jobs are less likely to be overemployed. In fact,other data shows that these workers are more likely to be  underemployed, which is the terminology applied to those who want to work more hours for more pay.
 

Overemployment: cause and effect

Many social scientists believe that mental exhaustion, brought on by working too many hours, is a significant contributor to overemployment. On the other hand, advances in technology have raised consumers’ expectations to a degree not experienced before – consumers of goods and technology want instant gratification, instant connectivity and instant responses -  we expect our needs to be met when and where we want them to be met. One effect of this is that we work longer hours. An interesting study of two investment banks found that workers spent up to 120 hours a week in service of their company. The same study revealed that workers experienced a number of mental health-related issues as a result of their overwork and, unsurprisingly, became less effective and less productive at work (source: NewYorker). 

 

How can the data help you?

Overemployment is related to issues of work-life balance, and the data provides helpful insights into those sectors where many workers are overemployed. If you are interested in pursuing a professional career in an occupation where overemployment is a factor, it may be worth exploring further the issues surrounding overemployment and considering how best to manage your work-life balance; perhaps by talking to people who are already working in those fields. By being well informed you will be better placed to face any challenges that may lie ahead.

Would you love to work fewer hours, even if it has to be for less pay?

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