UK techies: Long hours reap rewards

Most IT staff are putting in significantly more than the 'average' 35 hours a week, but many of their salaries reflect the extra effort, according to a recent survey
Written by Graham Hayday, Contributor

The UK's high-tech workers are still working far harder than the 'average' 35-hour week -- with a significant proportion going over the maximum suggested by EU law.

A meagre 5.1 percent of the respondents to this year's silicon.com Skills Survey work fewer than 35 hours a week.

More than 34 percent put in 35 to 40 hours; 28.4 percent 40 to 45; 16.3 percent spend between 45 and 50 hours at work; while a remarkable 16.1 percent devote more than 50 hours a week to their jobs - at least two more than the 48 laid down by European law.

These figures are broadly in line with the results of last year's survey, showing that staff are not working significantly longer hours these days, despite the continuing tough economic conditions.

Despite the long hours, IT staff continue to enjoy decent salaries.

While just over a fifth of the respondents to silicon.com's survey said they earned below £25,000 per year (37,500 euros), 35 percent are in the £25,001-£40,000 range and 20.7 percent take home between £40,001 and £55,000 every year.

There are also a significant number of people being handsomely recompensed for their time. Nearly 11 percent of silicon.com's survey sample earn between £55,001 and £70,000 a year; 8.5 percent earn £70,001 to £110,000; while a small but wealthy minority -- 3.4 percent -- are paid over £110,000.

These figures are also very similar to those produced by last year's survey.

The survey was also conducted by ZDNet and silicon.com's sister sites in France (zdnet.fr) and Germany (zdnet.de), with their results throwing up some interesting comparisons. UK techies may feel over-worked, but it may be of some consolation to learn that the Germans put in even longer hours: over 40 percent said they spend over 45 hours per week at their desks. In the UK it's just over 32 percent.

The French achieve a better work/life balance than UK and German IT staff. Under 30 percent of respondents there go over the 45-hour mark.

But before UK readers start applying for jobs in France, think of the money: over half of French techies earn under £25,000, while only 19.1 percent earn over £40,001. The £40k-plus figure for the UK is more than double that, at 43.4 percent.

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