Londoners are working more hours per year than anywhere else in the UK

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Amy Swales
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Depending on which study, survey or pub chat you listen to, Londoners have either the best or the worst time of it.

And those of us living here tend to hear a lot more of the latter, being told by bemused out-of-towners that they can’t understand how we put up with such a toxic mix of overtime, passive-aggressive fellow commuters and inflated prices (every non-Londoner’s favourite game: What You Could Buy For The Price Of A One-Bed Down Your Road).

Now the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals Londoners work an average of 100 hours more every year than the rest of the UK.

According to the report, which looks into labour productivity across the UK, the average working week in London currently stands at 33 hours – its longest since 2008 – while the rest of the UK stands at 31.

The ONS figures include part-time workers as well as full-time.

And for why do Londoners work longer hours? Professor Ronald McQuaid, professor of work and employment at the University of Stirling, points to a combination of a young demographic, high cost of living and concentration of “higher-skilled work” in the capital.

Speaking to the BBC, he explained that industries such as financial services typically work longer hours and there are plenty of them in London. He added: “Younger workers are more likely to work longer hours too, especially if living in an expensive area.”

He also referenced data from 2012 which said Londoners, despite having a vast transport network, also faced the longest commute in the UK – daily spending an average of 75 minutes travelling, which, according to McQuaid, means Londoners need to “work more hours to make up the cost of travel”.

Additionally, those in the capital also earn about £10 per hour more than the UK average, making it “more worthwhile for Londoners to stay at work”.

Hey, we’ll just have to console ourselves with gin hotels and cheese bars.

Images: iStock


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.