We're working more, earning less - survey

Karen O'Flaherty

By Colm Kelpie

Working nine to five is a thing of the past for some, it seems.

Seven out of 10 employees in technology, engineering, accountancy, finance and office-support jobs are working longer than they're contracted to, and most feel they have no choice, a survey has found.

And three-quarters of those quizzed believe it is affecting their work-life balance, the latest Working Hours survey from global recruitment consultants Morgan McKinley found.


But while some employees feel tied to their desks, about half of those surveyed said they do not sneak a peek at their mobile devices after leaving the office.

Morgan McKinley Ireland chief operations officer Karen O'Flaherty said the Irish work environment has "utterly changed".

"The days of turning up in the office at 9am and walking out the door at 5pm are long gone," she said.

"The changed work environment is reflected not only in the hours professionals are putting in, but also in the working options provided by employers."

The survey was conducted last month among employees of Morgan McKinley's 200 clients across a variety of sectors including accounting and finance, financial services, tech, engineering, science and office support across Ireland.

The survey showed that seven out of 10 professionals are working longer than contracted, with half of them working at least an extra hour a day.

One-sixth of workers put in an extra three months a year more than they are contracted to. And 75pc said their work-life balance is being impacted.

But 60pc said they feel more productive in the extra hours than in the normal working day.

"Many employees feel they don't have a choice in the matter, with 63pc saying they are expected to work extra hours.

"Employers looking to retain and attract talent need to be mindful of this, since three-quarters of pros say their work-life balance is affected by working extra," Ms O'Flaherty said. "However, Irish people have learnt how to 'work hard and switch off'.

"Three-fifths are more productive when they work past their contracted hours and almost half of professionals do not use their mobile devices for work after leaving the office."


Data released in August by the Central Statistics Office confirmed we are working longer hours and getting paid less.

But the results varied massively from one industry to another, especially between the public and private sectors.

Average weekly earnings fell to €688.15 by the end of June, down from €695.53 a year earlier. That is €21.63 an hour.

But the CSO data showed that pay in the public sector, including semi-state companies such as the ESB and Irish Rail, is almost 50pc higher.