Real Life

Londoners Work 100 Hours A Year More Than The Rest Of The UK

With stressful commutes, sky-high living costs and a competitive work culture, life in the capital can be relentless.

And now a new set of figures has shed light on quite how intensely Londoners are expected to graft for the hard-won delights of the city.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) - reported by the BBC - show that those living in the capital work on average three weeks a year more than the rest of the UK.

The average working week in Britain stands at 31 hours according to the ONS. But this rises to 33 hours inside the confines of the M25.

Yes, not only do Londoners have to do battle with sweaty crowds on the Northern line come 8am, they are also expected to be glued to their desks for an extra 104 hours a year to make the whole shebang worth it.

If the weekly hours estimate sounds slightly low, that's because it's taking into account part-time as well as full-time roles.

In reality, people living in London can work anything up to 100 hours per week. In high-pressure industries such as banking, a 75-hour working week is considered the norm.

A frenetic work culture and high living costs drive up office hours in London

Professor Ronald McQuaid of the University of Stirling told the BBC that the longer hours came about as a combined result of the capital's young workforce, high-skilled professions and exorbitant rent.

"Certain industries, such as financial services, typically work longer hours and there's a high concentration of these in London," he says.

"Younger workers are more likely to work longer hours too, especially if living in an expensive area."

London's ambitious working ethos creates a culture of presenteeism, which a 2014 study blamed for a lack of productivity and flexible working. The research showed young people were particularly vulnerable to being pressured by their colleagues and bosses into working longer hours.

A survey from UBS last year placed London's average working week of 33 and a half hours in a global context. This worked out as more than cities such as Paris, Milan and Copenhagen but far less than places such as Hong Kong, where employees put in an average of 50 hours a week, and Mumbai at 43 hours.

Property prices are undoubtedly responsible for generating long work hours in the capital. The average cost of housing in London stands at over 14 times average earnings. Liverpool, in contrast, is home to some of the UK's most affordable housing.

But it's not all bad news. Londoners earn on average £10,000 more than people living in the rest of the UK. They're also an easily pleased lot; a short commute makes them happier than sex, according to this Time Out study.

Londoners are also more open compared to people in the rest of Britain, says a regional personality study by the University of Cambridge.

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