Press Releases 2019

British shift workers on 40% less hours than full-time workers


  • New analysis of over 200,000 British shift workers highlights the gap between different employment statuses
  • Millennials make up nearly half the British shift working population
  • Average UK shift length is 7.3 hours, surpassing 6.7 hours in the US and 6.6 hours in Australia


London, 26 September 2019: Deputy, the leading workforce management app, has today published new analysis revealing the nature of British shift work. The UK Shiftwork Index shows British shift workers only work an average of 99 hours per month, which is far lower than the full-time equivalent of 164 hours.

Whilst many shift workers choose to work part-time hours, this illustrates a significant gap between different employment statuses, amid concerns of underemployment and workplace uncertainty. 896,000 hourly-paid workers in the UK are on zero-hours contracts, which have been widely criticised for their potential to exploit workers. These contracts are often with the worker’s primary employer and their main source of income. According to ONS figures for April to June 2019, 26.5% of these zero-hours contract workers are classed as underemployed, stating they are looking for more hours.

The index, informed by analysis of 24 million shift hours worked by over 200,000 British shift workers using the Deputy app, also shows that two-thirds (65%) of organisations employing shift workers now run a 24 hour workforce.

This emphasises how sectors including retail, hospitality, logistics and healthcare, with high dependency on hourly-paid shift workers, are running around-the-clock operations to satisfy customer demand and increase business efficiency. According to the TUC, over 3 million Brits regularly work through the night.

Other key findings in the UK Shiftwork Index include:

  • Millennials – those born between 1981 and 1995 – now make up nearly half (48%) of the British shift working population, followed by Generation Z (30%): those in the workforce born from 1996 onward.
  • The average age of a female British shift worker is 27 whilst the male average is 29 years old.
  • The most common British shift start time is 8:00am, and the most common clock-off time is 4:00pm. Average shift length in the UK is 7.3 hours – longer than 6.7 hours in the US and 6.6 hours in Australia.
  • Reflecting the hospitality industry’s dependency on shift workers, the most shift hours worked in the UK are on a Friday.
  • The busiest day of work for UK shift workers in the past year was Friday, 14th June – the day England beat Argentina 1-0 in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Commenting on the index, David Kelly, General Manager for EMEA at Deputy said: “Shift workers are the backbone of the UK economy and our findings show a high percentage of businesses now operate around the clock. But despite this dependency, there is a big squeeze on labour, making it harder for organisations to find, keep and engage employees. Innovative businesses are therefore using new tools and technologies to deploy, pay and recognise the great work done by their staff.’’

The full findings can be accessed in Deputy’s UK Shiftwork Index here.

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