The results are in, and Australia’s hardest working city may surprise many
There might be a good reason for Melbourne’s reputation as a haven for coffee drinkers: according to research by Hudson, Melbourne’s professionals now work the longest hours in the country, with 73% of Melbourne-based professionals working over 40 hours a week.
The city just pips Brisbane (72%) and Sydney (71%). The results come from a survey of 3,358 professionals in Australia, conducted as part of research for The Hudson Report, Q2 2015. This means that the country that pioneered the 40-hour working week is now drifting north of the gold standard it set for the world.
Hudson’s General Manager in Victoria, Kristen Mangelsdorf, says the normalising of longer hours in the state has likely come about due to organisational changes, restructures and outsourcing.
“As businesses try to realign and continue to work on improving productivity, there’s a real focus on not adding costs. This means professionals are taking on more responsibility and broader roles, or dealing with more stakeholders, all within their existing role,” she says.
Meanwhile, at the northern end of the country, Hudson’s General Manager, Queensland, Rona McLean, says the huge economic growth which came from the oil and gas sector led the charge in changing Queensland’s work culture.
“Operators were under such tight deliverables and deadlines it put them all into heightened levels of delivery mode, on tightened timeframes. It also brought in a huge influx of talent to Queensland, many of whom were already used to working longer hours,” she says.
“It comes down to increased pressure from clients who want more for less, and generally want it now,” McLean says.
Across Australia, while professionals may be coming to the party to help their employers get more done for less, those putting in the hours aren’t necessarily ‘banking’ credit for future promotions.
“Although people are working longer hours, it’s not primarily to get ahead. Today, you get ahead in most organisations by delivering outcomes. It’s just that you’re now asked to deliver outcomes in shorter timeframes, which may mean putting in longer hours to get there,” says Mangelsdorf.
For managers who typically see staff at their desks well into the evening or early in the morning, there is an opportunity to create culture change within the organisation, by actively acknowledging late hours spent and encouraging staff to leave on time and spend time with their families.
Such cultural change could be top of the agenda for many organisations, since ‘better work life balance’ is the number one thing Australian professionals look for in a new job in 2015, according to Hudson’s The Hiring Report.
Percentage of Australia professionals working more than 40 hours a week
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