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UK Employees Work 26.5 Days FOR FREE Every Year…and a Brexit Could Make it Worse


Britain’s professionals are working more than 5 weeks for free every single year, meaning the average annual salary in the UK is over three thousand pounds too low. The news comes from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job site, which conducted a survey amongst over 16,000 of Britain’s workers ascertain what an average working day looks like in the UK.

The findings revealed that the average UK professional contracted to work 7.5 hours per day is actually working 8 hours and 16 minutes daily. The data finds that employees are working 26.5 days more than their contracted hours every single year, without being paid overtime; this, combined with the average UK salary of £32,938 per year, suggests that workers are being short-changed a staggering £3,352 every single year.

The research also uncovers how the number of average hours worked varies across the UK, revealing the regions with the longest average working day…and where employees are most out of pocket:

  1. Scotland: 8 hours and 44 minutes; meaning full-time employees in Scotland work 42 days, 5 hours and 38 minutes for free and are underpaid by £5,239
  2. South West: 8 hours and 28 minutes; meaning full-time employees in the South West work 33 days, 3 hours and 45 minutes for free and are underpaid by £3,963
  3. East Midlands: 8 hours and 22 minutes; meaning full-time employees in the East Midlands work 30 days for free and are underpaid by £3,557

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments:

“In the first quarter of the year we have seen wages rise year-on-year, but when compared with the previous quarter salaries actually declined by 0.9% – and with the introduction of the national living wage and concerns around the EU referendum, we expect wages to decline even further into Q2 2016. With many UK businesses facing low productivity as the nation struggles with skills shortages and economic uncertainty, it’s extremely concerning to see that full-time workers are forced to pick up the slack with no reward. The government needs to work with businesses to tackle the issues head-on; especially for regions like Scotland where workers are facing worryingly long work days.”

In addition, the research finds that 14.2% of full-time employees are working over 10 hours per day, far exceeding the 48 hour per week limit currently imposed by EU employment laws. And there are fears that a Brexit could cause a further increase on working hours.

Biggins explains:

“There are so many questions still unanswered regarding the EU referendum, and for UK workers many of these questions are surrounding the current EU employment laws. It’s clear that professionals in Britain are already working close to, if not more than, they legally should on a full-time contact, and a Brexit could worsen the situation – if we leave the EU and the security blanket of a maximum 48 hour week is removed then UK workers could face even longer working days. ”

For a full breakdown, please see CV-Library’s report on working hours across the UK.

Learn more about CV-Library at


CV-Library is one of the UK’s largest online job sites, with the UK’s biggest database of over 12m CVs. The company was founded in 2000 as a response to Lee’s identification of a market niche. As a young carpet fitter at the time struggling to find work, Lee saw a need for an easy-to-use job board benefiting both job hunters and recruiters. With a £9k loan and help from a web developer, the CV-Library website was built. Lee’s raw passion and hands-on marketing strategies lifted the business off the ground and it is this that continues to push his company to new heights.

The business is now one of the fastest growing websites in the country. The team is expanding rapidly, now employing over 200 staff. It has also launched sister website, Resume Library, in the US, where the company is set to expand and take the brand global over the coming years. Lee puts the reason for his success down to working incredibly hard, loving what he does and a strong desire to make the business the best it can be.

Lee has received over 50 awards and accolades to date and was last year recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year. In April 2015 CV-Library was also ranked as number 49 in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100.


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