Public sector staff forced to put longer hours in the wake of recession

As morale in the public sector dips, just under a quarter of workers in this sector (25.1%) employed by the state claim they have been forced to work longer hours since the recession.

The finding comes from the latest poll of 1,001 UK public sector workers by international recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark. This issue is particularly prevalent amongst workers aged 45 and 54, with nearly a third (30.2%) saying they have found their working hours extended since the downturn hit. The trend is most pronounced for housing sector workers, two fifths (40%) of whom have been working longer hours, closely followed by nearly a third of NHS employees (29.7%).

Workers in Northern Ireland have been putting in the most hours in the UK, two fifths (40%) working longer hours since the recession. Londoners are not far behind with nearly a third (30.3%) of public sector workers in the capital committing more time to work.

These reports of longer working hours come as over three quarters (73.3%) of public sector workers claim morale in their organisation is average to poor. On a more positive note, nearly two thirds (64.7%) of public sector workers have no plans to leave their job with nearly a third (28.1%) naming good work/life balance as an important factor that encourages them to stay in the sector.

At the same time, over a third (34.4%) of public sector workers do not feel the private sector would mean a better pay package.

Nicola Linkleter, MD at Badenoch & Clark said: "The recession has undoubtedly put the public sector under pressure, and its effects continue to reverberate throughout organisations.Badenoch & Clark's research has shown that this burden is being borne by the workers, with a significant proportion of employees putting in the hours to keep their organisations functioning efficiently.

"With morale dropping, public sector employers must now demonstrate explicitly how much they value the long hours their workers commit to their jobs. Our research shows there is some positive feeling around the work/life balance and remuneration packages that can be achieved in the public sector. This sentiment can be capitalised upon to avoid top talent considering pastures new, whether that be in the public or private sector.

"Public sector employers can do this by devoting their attention to a strong engagement strategy and, where budgets allow, focus further on their remuneration package to show they value the hard work and long hours their employees have dedicated to their organisations during the recession and beyond."