Seven and a Half Day Working Week for Construction, Property & Engineering Workers

  • Construction, property and engineering (CPE) employees fit 7.5 days work into working week
  • Two fifths of CPE workers have seen workloads increase since last year
  • Job cuts and lean team structures having main impact on employees
  • One in two unable to switch off from work while on holiday

Employees in the construction, property and engineering (CPE) industry are each covering the workloads of one full-time and one part-time person, according to Randstad, the UK sector specialist recruiter.

In a survey of over 2,000 British employees[i], Randstad found that construction, property and engineering workers feel they currently have to perform the job of one and a half people. This means they are covering 50% more work than one person should be – the equivalent of fitting an extra two and a half work days into the working week. In comparison the average British worker feels they currently have to perform the job of 1.3 people meaning they are covering 30% more work than one person should be.

While a third of CPE workers feel their workload is suitable for one person, one in four (24%) feel that in an ideal world their role would need one full time and one part-time member of staff. Similarly, another one in four (25%) believe their role needs two full-time people to manage the level of work and one in ten (10%) feel their role really needs at least two full-time members of staff as well as an additional one part-time person.

Two fifths (43%) of employees in the sector feel they are working harder now than they were twelve months ago while only one in twenty workers (6%) feel their workloads have eased over this period.

31% of all workers in the sector specify job cuts as one of the key contributors to their increased workload while 23% said it was down to their organisation keeping teams lean during the economic recovery.

Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad CPE, said: “The construction, property and engineering industry is under immense pressure during these tough financial times. With the economic outlook so uncertain it’s understandable that management are keeping workforces as lean as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable model.

“Making fewer people work harder can improve the bottom line initially, but in the long-run, spreading the workforce too thin leads to burnout, mistakes and lower productivity. Not something the sector needs at the moment.”

Workload taking its toll

The rise in workload is taking its toll on the CPE workforce. One in five workers (19%) feel more stressed now than they did six months ago, a third (30%) said it takes longer to switch off at the weekends than it did six months ago and one in ten (10%) are experiencing tension in their home life because of work worries or stress.

Holidays unable to ease pressure

Rising stress and work worries also mean that holidays are unable to provide suitable respite. Over half (56%) of CPE employees don’t feel they can completely switch off from work when on holiday with one in five (18%) of workers stating they know that clearing the backlog of work from their time away will make them feel like they’ve had no break at all.

Owen Goodhead, adds: “Being able to take a break and switch off from work is vital for productivity but this year the holiday season has stretched the construction, property and engineering sectors to the limit. Balancing headcount costs and the risk of a burnt out workforce is difficult at the best of times but especially during August. The construction, property and engineering industries already use temporary and contract staff very effectively. Drafting in additional resource to cover holidays and bolstering lean teams during projects can be a flexible way to ease the burden for all sides, keeping the entire workforce motivated and productive. ”

– ENDS –

[i] Research of 2001 consumers conducted by Canadean Research between 23rd and 30th July 2012 – further details available on request

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