Stat of the day: 48 hours

The average length of the working week in 1952, according to a new report.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

It's probably safe to say that not many people think of the 1950s as halcyon days - particularly when it comes to working life. But a report out today has suggested that workers today are no happier than they were back then. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and development, while the average working week in 1952 then was between 40 and 48 hours, and although it's now shortened to 37 hours, we don't seem to be making the most of it...

The number of jobs in manufacturing, for example, has collapsed, from 8.7 million to 2.5 million, while the number of private sector firms has rocketed, from 160,000 to 4.5 million. And, despite all that meddling from Government, the number of public sector jobs has held at a steady six million. The workforce has grown, from 23 million to 32 million - but the percentage of men in employment has dropped from 96% to 75%, while the percentage of women in work has risen, from (the surprisingly high) 46% to 66%.

But despite all that, the CIPD reckons we're no happier than we were back then. 'Many exhibit the symptoms of work-related stress,' said chief economic adviser Dr John Philpott. Apparently, it's all to do with smartphones: while they've released us from the shackles of the office, they've also blurred the line between work and non-work time. Well, they don't call it the CrackBerry for nothing...

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