Over three quarters (77%) of City contractors work longer than their contracted hours, yet more than half (57%) believe they are productive in those extra hours, according to a new survey by leading professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley.
The research shows a modest difference between the sentiments of contractors and permanent staff, with 50% of the latter reporting that they feel productive when putting in over-time.
Morgan McKinley surveyed over 200 contract staff working in the capital’s financial services sector, representing a cross-section of roles including accounting and finance, compliance, HR, operations, projects and change and risk management. The findings reveal that of those individuals working longer hours than contracted, nearly two thirds (65%) felt obligated to do so. However, despite the onus on long hours, flexible working options are still available for those undertaking a contract role, with 49% of respondents reporting that they could work from home, 58% benefiting from a flexible start and finish time and 14% able to put in reduced hours such as a four day week.
Hakan Enver, operations director at Morgan McKinley, comments: “The statistics show that a culture of long working hours is still inherent in the City, even among contractors. However, it’s interesting that a high proportion of contractors report that they believe the extra hours worked are productive, perhaps signifying the emphasis on temporary staff to prove their worth and make a difference in the role they’re undertaking. At the same time, City employers are evidently waking up to the fact that contractors demand a work life balance just as permanent staff do, and there are options available for temporary professionals to help achieve this, such as home working, flexi-time and four day weeks.
“Despite this, it would appear that the vast majority of contractors feel they have no choice but to work longer than their contracted hours, and in this case, it’s certainly worth them being aware of the options available to ensure they are adequately compensated.”
Enver adds, “Contractors who are paid on an hourly rate should not be too concerned about long hours as they will get paid for them. However, for those on day rates it is useful to be aware that the Agency Workers Regulation (AWR) provides comparable pay and conditions for PAYE contractors where a similar permanent role exists. This means that contractors wanting equal treatment will need to behave as if they are a permanent part of the team and if long hours are the norm in the organisation they may need to adapt.”