Indian workers ready to slog, finds study

Many Indian workers said they would prefer to work five days a week even if they had the option to work fewer days for the same pay.

A new study has shown that Indians are willing to work more hours than western nations but experts said this could be reflective of job insecurity and the fears of being replaced.

The findings, which were compiled by the US-based Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc and titled ‘Culture Study’, included a sample size of nearly 3,000 full-time employees worldwide. Forty-five per cent of those surveyed globally said that their work took less than five hours a day if uninterrupted, while nearly 72% favoured working four days or less per week.

This trend, according to a summary report released to DH on Wednesday, said that “people no longer want eight hours a day, 48 hours a week, long-term jobs. They want to do three different things in a week.”

However, Indian workers told a different story, with 69% of full-time workers (in the education, healthcare, retail, technology, manufacturing, hospitality, finance, transport and other professional services) claiming that they would prefer to work five days a week even if they had the option to work fewer days for the same pay.

According to clinical psychologist Dr Sugami Ramesh, this phenomenon is partly explained by the competitive spirit of Indians with regard to co-workers and the guilt associated whenever someone is not working.

“There is underlying insecurity over holding onto the jobs and so, many Indians, especially in the private sector, try to put in extra hours in order to remain competitive,” she said.

This is supported by the survey which reveals employee dissatisfaction is pronounced with 95% of those surveyed stating that they are capable of doing their managers’ job more effectively, while 62% said they often feel pressured to work long hours in order to grow their careers. In contrast, 74% of employees in the United States (across comparable industries), described their managers as giving them the flexibility to balance work and personal life.

Dr B N Gangadhar, director of Nimhans, said the fact that Indians were willing to work more hours was a good thing. “Their work should be rewarded by managers, but at the same time, employees must ensure that their health or family commitments do not suffer,” he said. 

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