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Nearly three-quarters of Irish employees work longer than contracted hours, finds Morgan McKinley

The majority (73%) of Irish professionals work longer than their contracted hours, with about one in five working a full extra three months a year according to the Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey, published today by Morgan McKinley.


The research was conducted in February 2016 among over 2,700 employees of Morgan McKinley’s Irish clients across a variety of professional sectors including accounting and finance, financial services, technology, engineering, science and office support.


60% of the respondents hold middle management, senior management or senior leadership roles (in total, 10% hold leadership roles e.g., CEO, CFO or similar functions, etc.).  40% of the respondents hold executive level and entry level roles.


Highlights from the survey include:


  • Seven out of ten Irish professionals work longer than their contracted hours.
  • Almost one-fifth worked an extra three months a year, i.e. ten hours extra per week.
  • 62% of employees felt obligated to work longer than their contracted hours.
  • More than four of every five professionals said they were not compensated for working over their contracted hours.
  • 43% felt they were more productive in the extra hours worked than in the normal working day, with 75% of these respondents citing fewer disruptions as the reason.
  • Nearly half (48%) of professionals believed flexible working arrangements would make their working lives easier.
  • 36% currently have the option of working from home, with 44% of employees having a flexible start / finish time
  • Only 4% of professionals said, however, that remote working was formally offered as part of company policy, with just over half of professionals saying it was offered on a discretionary or occasional basis.


Morgan McKinley’s director of inward investment, Trayc Keevans, said, “This is the second Working Hours Survey that Morgan McKinley has carried out in the last two years.  The findings suggest a culture of longer working hours is continuing. Over 40% of professionals are now working at least six hours extra a week, and nearly 1 in every 5 employees is putting in 10 hours extra or more per week – that is a full extra quarter for these employees per year.


“A majority of all those surveyed felt obligated to work longer than their contracted hours, with over four out of five not being compensated for this extra time at the desk. Of note is the fact that 43% of professionals felt they are more productive in the extra hours worked, citing a lack of disruption, calls and email as reasons for enhanced productivity.


“Flexible work arrangements remain a key aspiration for Irish workers, with almost half saying this would positively impact their working lives. Although more employees do have flexible start and finish times and greater options for working from home, the findings suggest a culture of flexible working is not yet embedded. The majority of those surveyed indicated flexible and remote working arrangements are offered on a discretionary and occasional basis rather than as part of an overall defined package.


“It’s clear that the Irish economy and the professional workforce has a cohort of highly motivated and committed employees who are prepared to go the extra mile for their companies and their careers.  This year, employers who are conscious of the need to limit salary inflation, should consider the benefits of offering flexible work arrangements as a means to attract and retain talent.”


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