Boozed-up bosses out-drinking manual workers

New ONS figures suggest that Britain's stressed-out managers are being increasingly driven to drink...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 28 Jan 2011
If you were nursing a bit of a hangover this morning, chances are you weren't the only one. Because according to the latest Lifestyle Survey compiled by the Office for National Statistics, managers are among the UK’s biggest boozers, with people in managerial roles out-drinking their manual labouring counterparts on a regular basis. Apparently, the average weekly consumption for managers was 13.5 units, compared with a mere 10.7 units for those in manual jobs. So much for the age of austerity...

Now, most of us would probably admit to over-indulging every now and then. But the survey found that 41% of men and 35% of women in managerial roles had exceeded the recommended daily limit (that's three or four units for men, and two or three for women, since you asked) at least once in the week before the survey. What's more, 23% of men and 15% of women had indulged in ‘heavy drinking’, i.e. had eight pints or more in a single night. Bet they were models of productivity in the office the next morning...

So what's the reason for all these sozzled supervisors? Well, you'd be forgiven for assuming it was a case of people drowning their recession-induced sorrows (particularly since these figures are for 2009). But according to charity Drinkaware, it’s also a cultural thing; as chief exec Chris Sorek put it: ‘Meetings and get-togethers are all situations where professionals may feel under pressure to drink.’ Although stress is another factor, he said: ‘We know many de-stress with a drink at home after a long working day.’ We're sure we're not alone in admitting to that one...

If this is about stress, you'd expect consumption to drop as the economy recovers and work becomes less stressful. But apparently, that’s not necessarily the case. According to charity Alcohol Concern, it’s actually likely to rise along with people’s salaries (although we're not completely convinced that the booze intake of many hardened drinkers necessarily bears a direct correlation to the size of their pay packet).

Sobering stats indeed. But there was one bit of good news. The ONS figures also showed that managers are far less likely to smoke: 15% of adults in managerial and professional households partake of the demon weed, compared to 29% of those in manual households. So that's something...

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