Longer Hours

July 15 2010 - A survey conducted for the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA) found that most Quebec employees do not envy their bosses and over half (53 per cent) would not trade places if given the opportunity. Only 27 per cent would do so immediately, 19 per cent after some hesitation. The survey found 62 per cent of women would not want their boss's job, compared to 46 per cent of their male counterparts.

Florent Francoeur, CRHA president said:

"These findings sound the alarm for managers. Succession problems are tricky and often neglected in many organizations. Management needs to come up with sound strategies to prepare the next generation. This is a crucial issue for organizations' survival and their future."

The survey also found that long work hours are a deterrent to accepting promotion. Nearly half of respondents (42 per cent) gave this as the main reason they would refuse, followed by a heavier workload (14 per cent) and having to manage a team or human resources (13 per cent).

Florent Francoeur concluded:

"Obviously, not every employee is interested in or has the ability to hold a management position. But the survey shows that it's time for some companies to change their culture of long work hours. Employees don't necessarily perform better just because they spend more time at the office. Performance is measured by outcomes."

Longer Hours For Finance Managers

In 2007, research on behalf of staffing services firm Robert Half International found that more than half the finance managers surveyed reported working longer hours than two years previously, but with considerable variation between countries. Based on responses from more than 2200 individuals from 17 countries, the study also identified a trend toward increased accessibility away from the office.

Key survey findings relating to Canadian respondents included:

  • Nearly half (47 per cent) said their hours had increased over the previous two years of whom 64 per cent reported currently working between five and 15 extra hours a week.
  • Average working hours were 42.5 hours per week, compared to 40.9 hours in the United States, 43.2 hours in Australia, 43.8 hours in Italy and 47.1 hours in Japan.
  • Some 44 per cent said they took work calls or check e-mail in the evening at home. This was 10 percentage points higher than average, double that for Germany and exceeded only by the Netherlands (46 per cent).
  • Only 29 per cent said they never worked weekends compared to 65 per cent in Spain and 55 per cent in France. One-quarter reported working at least three weekends a month.
  • Some 38 per cent said they sometimes or always take their laptops or PDAs with them on vacation, compared to 16 per cent in Ireland, which appears high in the list of hours worked.

The survey found that overall 37 per cent of respondents reported working between 39 and 45 hours per week, and 52 per cent said this was longer than two years ago. The three most commonly cited reasons were more responsibility (56 per cent), company growth (45 per cent) and understaffing (27 per cent).

Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International commented:

"Finance and accounting managers have taken on new roles and responsibilities due to company expansion and the emphasis on corporate governance and compliance. This clearly has resulted in heavier workloads - and, in many cases, the need to work longer hours."

"Professionals around the world have differing expectations of how and when they should work. As organizations branch into new countries, they must understand and respect the customs within different parts of the world. While it may be acceptable to call contacts in one location in the evening or during their vacation, for example, others may consider it intrusive or unprofessional."