Less work for more play –

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SCI­EN­TISTS, tech­ni­cians, min­ers and food ser­vices staff are the most likely em­ploy­ees to be work­ing less hours to­day than 10 years ago, new data shows.

Av­er­age work­ing hours of less than 38 a week now ap­plies to three-quar­ters of in­dus­tries in South Aus­tralia.

Em­ploy­ees in only five in­dus­tries, com­pared with seven in 2000, now are work­ing 38 hours a week or more.

The biggest falls in work­ing hours have been in pro­fes­sional, sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal ser­vices, now work­ing 34 hours a week, ac­com­mo­da­tion and food ser­vices, now 26 hours a week, and min­ing, now 41 hours a week.

They are work­ing at least five hours aweek less than in 2000, with min­ing work­ers do­ing seven hours a week less.

Work­ing hours in­creased for staff in rental, hir­ing and real es­tate ser­vices, from 35 to 36 hours aweek.

In­for­ma­tion me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, rose from 36 to 37 hours a week, and whole­sale trade, from 37 to 39 hours a week.

Work­ers in ac­com­mo­da­tion and food ser­vices, which has a high pro­por­tion of ca­sual and part-time staff, work the short­est hours each week at an av­er­age of 26 hours.

Health care and so­cial as­sis­tance, ad­min­is­tra­tive and sup­port ser­vices, and re­tail trade staff work less than 30 hours a week at 29, 34 and 28 hours re­spec­tively. Min­ing work­ers had the most av­er­age weekly hours at 41 hours a week, fol­lowed by whole­sale trade.

Real Es­tate In­dus­try of South Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Troughton says real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als typ­i­cally work more than the stan­dard 38-hour week be­cause of the need to meet clients when they are avail­able.

‘‘There is no doubt that real es­tate pro­fes­sion­als are of­ten asked to work long and ir­reg­u­lar hours to suit their clients, in­clud­ing meet­ings in the evening and on week­ends,’’ Mr Troughton says.

‘‘This is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant in res­i­den­tial sales.’’

Its data shows only one-quar­ter of real es­tate staff work 40 hours a week or less. Mr Troughton says many em­ploy­ers were in­creas­ing the skills of their em­ploy­ees so they can work in other ar­eas, which had in­creased the over­all work­ing hours of the real es­tate work­force.

‘‘It is not un­com­mon for ad­min­is­tra­tion staff to sup­port the sales and prop­erty man­age­ment team, and this gives em­ploy­ees more di­ver­sity in their day whilst keep­ing skill lev­els high in the of­fice,’’ he says.

State Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive John Brownsea says less hours for work­ers in the re­tail sec­tor is a sign of the times.

He says many re­tail staff are work­ing less hours be­cause their em­ploy­ers are work­ing more.

The eco­nomic down­turn has caused many em­ploy­ers to cut back

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