The Times They Aren't a Changin': Why working hours have stopped falling in London and the UK

This report is the first of two in a Resolution Foundation research project looking at time use, supported by Trust for London.

This first report aims to inform the current debate on working time by looking at how working hours today vary around the country, according to people’s sex, jobs, age, location and other characteristics. It also provides a snapshot of how working hours vary around London and the UK today.

Key findings

  • Londoners work some of the longest hours in the UK - an average of one-and-three-quarter hours longer than workers in the rest of the UK
    London is striking in having some of the longest working hours of any region, both among women and men, working an average of one-and-three-quarter hours longer. Just over an hour of the difference can be explained by the composition of London’s workforce. Nearly all of this compositional effect is due to Londoners being much less likely to work part-time, while most of the rest is due to London’s workforce being younger. Just over half an hour of the difference can be explained by the interaction of compositional and within-group effects: that is, in London some groups are both over-represented and tend to work longer hours than people with that characteristic elsewhere. In London the most important of these interactions are that financial sector workers and higher-educated workers are more prevalent than elsewhere and in London those workers work longer hours.
  • Inner London is different because women there are much less likely to work part-time than in the rest of the country
    Men’s hours in London do not differ very much from the UK average, though they are slightly more likely to do short hours and slightly more likely to work over 40 hours per week.
  • Differences within particular characteristic groups explain relatively little of the variation in hours between London and the rest of the UK.
    This latter result is because the upward impact of longer hours being worked in London (by certain occupations, by full-time workers and by prime-age workers) is mostly offset by workers in specific industries in London (retail, transport and communications, public administration, education and health and social work) working shorter hours than the norm.