Working time and flexibility
Average weekly working hours have been consistently falling over the last 15 years. This is due to a higher percentage of part-time work but also because of a reduction in the proportion of people working long hours. However, there are considerable variations across countries.
The Fourth European Working Conditions Survey (2005) reveals that regular working hours are still the norm: 58% of workers work the same number of hours every day, 74% the same number of days every week, 61% have fixed starting and finishing times.
A substantial disparity exists between employed workers (37.2 hours) and the self-employed (46.4 hours). 17% of respondents report working part-time, but 22% of part-timers would prefer to work full-time. Part-time work is always strongly associated with women (29% of females, 7% of males).
The proportion of people working non-standard hours (working at night or at weekends) has fallen slightly since 1995. Around 80% of the workforce never works at night, more than 40% never works on Saturdays and more than 70% never works on Sundays.
The survey also found that over 80% of workers are satisfied with how their working-time arrangements fit in with their non-work responsibilities. Men, particularly working fathers, report more dissatisfaction with their work–life balance than women. Although women declare themselves more satisfied in this regard, this 'satisfaction', however, is probably explained simply by the fact that women are unlikely at the outset to feel free to accept jobs where a serious mismatch exists.