Despite downturn, techies are working harder than ever

(PresseBox) ( London, )
Research conducted by online recruitment specialist revealed that of 500 IT workers surveyed for a report on working hours, nearly half said their hours had increased in the last two years. 42.5 percent cited the increase in the volume of work as the main reason for their working overtime, but 6.8 percent said the economic uncertainty made them feel the need to put in extra hours. Only 10 percent of those that worked overtime were actually paid for it.

Of those surveyed, over a quarter (27 percent) worked between 48-60 hours a week, with five percent working between 60-75 hours. Despite this amount of overtime being worked, only 15.8 percent had taken up the issue of working long hours with their manager. But of those that complained, 84.4 percent said it had not reduced the hours they worked.

More than a quarter (26.6 percent) of respondents had opted out of the European Working Time Regulation. This was introduced in 1998 to address the long working hours culture by ensuring that employees do not work more than 48 hours per week. Nearly a third (32.8 percent) of people questioned did not know whether they had opted out of the regulation.

Other key findings of the research, which questioned people from all sectors of the IT industry, including the banking and financial services, include:

- 51 percent of IT workers have to take work home.
- 72.3 percent felt confident that their productivity in the office had not decreased since working longer hours. Of those that said their productivity had decreased, one quarter said that it was because they found it harder to focus and 26 percent said it was due to a poor work life balance.
- 40.6 percent felt their health had been affected by working longer hours.
- 25 percent cited relationship problems because of work overload, 52 percent said it meant they were unable to pursue hobbies and 43 percent stated they had no time for family or friends. 64 percent believed their social life had been compromised 41 percent said it resulted in no social life at all.

Alex Farrell, managing director at comments: "Employers need to take some responsibility for the impact that overwork can have on their employees' health. With our research showing that a significant amount of IT workers find it difficult to maintain relationships or suffer ill health, the UK's culture of working long hours needs to be addressed. As businesses look to derive as much value from their people assets as possible during lean times, it is going to be imperative that we don't drive employees to burnout."

She continued, "Despite the predicted downturn we are still suffering a skills crisis, so it is essential that we don't disillusion our skilled workers at a time when we need them most."
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