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Men opting to spend less time at work

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Men are abandoning the long-hours culture in favour of a better work-life balance according to official figures for 2006 released by the Office for National Statistics.

Over the past 10 years, the number of men in the private sector working for more than 45 hours a week has fallen from 41 per cent to 31 per cent.

And in the public sector only 22 per cent of men work for more than 45 hours a week. For women, the long-hours culture was less pronounced with only 10 per cent of public sector women and nine per cent of private sector women usually working these hours.

Meanwhile, 29 per cent of public sector workers were part-time in 2006, compared to 25 per cent of private sector workers.

Women accounted for 65 per cent of public sector employees – up by two per cent from 1997 – compared to 41 per cent in the private sector.

The proportion of older workers in the public sector workforce has grown faster than in the private sector.

In 1997 23 per cent of public sector workers were over 50, in 2006 the proportion had reached 30 per cent. During the same period in the private sector, it has gone from 23 per cent to 27 per cent.

By contrast, in 2006 only six per cent of public sector workers were under 25, compared to 16 per cent in the private sector.

There was relatively little difference between the private and public sector when the workforce is analysed by ethnicity or disability.

In both private and public sectors the proportion of non-white workers increased from six per cent in 2001 to eight per cent in 2006.

The proportion of workers in both sectors who were long-term disabled increased by two percentage points between 1998 and 2006: from 12 to 14 per cent for the public sector and from 11 per cent to 13 per cent for the private sector.

One area where there is a major difference is trade union membership. In 2006, 60 per cent of public sector workers were union members, down from 61 per cent in 1997. In the private sector union membership has fallen to 16 per cent, from 19 per cent in 1997.

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