Why the UK is my ideal place to live

People are bitching, actually bitching, about having to work 44.6 hours a week.

Martin Spence of Bectu points to a recent UK jobs survey as proving that such conditions exist in England, as well. “The results debunk some of the glamorous myths about working in media,” he says. “The hours are long and although on face value the average salary looks high, when you consider the costs of living and working in London, which most media professionals do, it’s not a huge income.” But how long are those hours, exactly?

The Skillset survey (PDF) to which he refers show that media professionals work 44.6 hours a week—not particularly long by US standards, but well above the UK’s 33.8 hour average for all workers. Video game developers, in fact, actually work less hours than any other group in the entertainment industry: 8.6 hours a day, on average. Web designers put in 8.8 hours, while those designing and producing commercials put in 11.1 (see p. 64).

Many Americans would no doubt prefer to be spit out of such a mill; more than 40% of them work above 50 hours a week already, regardless of their industry. The fact that putting in 8.6 hours a day feels like a heavy workload to UK workers says much about the cultural differences found on opposite sides of the Atlantic. While US workers may be the most productive in the world, if you break that productivity down by the hour, Americans come in behind the Norwegians, French, and Belgians.

The time poverty that most Americans live in has been a pet peeve issue of mine for a long time. 33.8 hours seems like an impossible dream in this country – and that doesn’t even bring up the depressing reality of vacation time (five weeks vs. two weeks).

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