17 March 2005 | David Arminas
Purchasing managers do more unpaid overtime than virtually any other profession in the UK, according to research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
On average, they work nine hours and 12 minutes a week on top of their contracted hours - equal to an average annual salary increase of £10,245.
The findings reveal managers working in purchasing, finance and IT, together with solicitors and teachers, often work vastly more than a 40-hour week.
"It is the long-hours culture of Britain we are challenging," said a TUC spokesman.
"Other countries have improved productivity ahead of us.
"To keep up we have just lengthened the hours we work."
UK managers in all disciplines need more training to manage better so they don't need to work the overtime, he added.
John Howard, purchasing manager at plastics firm HW Boddingtons, agreed training is needed to work more efficiently.
"Overtime is almost a given. I work eight to ten hours overtime a week managing three people," he said.
"We must be trained to work smarter because of the threat of productive firms in the East."Click on the image to see a larger version in a new browser window
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However, other purchasing professionals view additional hours as simply part of the job.
"Overtime is not in my vocabulary. I consider all my hours worked as paid for," said Craig Lardner, group manager supply management at industrial gas supplier BOC.
"The issue is about deliverables, whether the job was done satisfactorily in whatever time it took to do it."
Lardner agreed training is always welcome but this should raise the potential for delivering results, not lowering hours.
"People should ask themselves how did I use my hours and what skills did I use to get the job done. Improved skills mean the deliverables will be greater."
The TUC survey also found that only senior civil servants, local government officials, directors and chief executives racked up more overtime, in salary terms, than purchasers.
On average each of these groups work slightly longer than purchasers, putting in an additional nine hours and 48 minutes a week.
Teachers are the most overworked, completing an additional 11 hours and 36 minutes a week for no pay.
But the annual average value of their free input is £9,892.