Sep 4, 2015

It’s official: Young people work hardest!

Young workers often get the worst press when it comes to working hard, but recent research carried out right here at has found the reality to be quite the opposite. We found people aged 16 to 24 are really putting in those extra hours, and are head and shoulders above all other age groups when it comes to doing so – rubbishing myths of workshy youngsters and telling a story of a generation of savvy, hard-working young businesspeople across the country.

The bare facts

We asked 1000 UK workers how much overtime they put in, and found people aged 16-24 worked on average a whopping seven hours and 22 minutes extra each week – that’s nearly a whole day above a conventional working week! Alarmingly, over 10% of those surveyed in this age bracket said they worked over 20 hours above their weekly contracted time.

Workers in the 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 age brackets were found to work an average five hours and 40 minutes, five hours and 35 minutes, and five hours 36 minutes overtime every week respectively.  People aged 55 and over were found to put in the least amount of overtime, with an average of under five hours for this age group.

Which cities work hardest?

We were also surprised to see where people were working hardest across the UK. London arguably has a reputation for long hours and late nights; particularly for those working in the City – but the capital only crept into the top ten of our hardest-working cities, with respondents from the area only averaging five hours and 16 minutes overtime each week.

Brighton was the location in which people were putting in the most overtime, with respondents in the vibrant Sussex town found to be working an average of eight hours and 43 minutes extra each week. Northern cities featured heavily in the top ten, with employees in Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield (in that order) all found to be putting considerable amounts of overtime. Please see below for full data on our top ten:

The truth behind the figures

Of course, while it’s great to laud the country’s young workers, the findings are perhaps reflective of a more worrying situation. This age group is facing high unemployment rates, increased tuition fees, and arguably taking the brunt of a rising costs of living.  And, with increasing numbers of highly-qualified young people having to take part-time or low-paid work, the situation does seem dire. So, people aged 16-24 may be working harder than any other age group, the question remains: Are they simply having to in order to get work?

Similarly, while we were slightly surprised (but definitely very encouraged) to see workers outside of London working harder than ever, could this a reflection of the economic divide between the capital and the rest of the United Kingdom? Much like the country’s youngest employees, are those outside of the capital having to work longer and harder just to simply keep up? 


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