HR · 5 November 2015

An office romance, six jobs, three bust-ups and nearly 30,000 cups of tea are just part of an average UK adult’s working life

Six per cent of UK workers racked up five or more office romances during the course of their careers
Six per cent of UK workers racked up five or more office romances during the course of their careers

You may think a typical working day is dull for most UK employees, but a new study has found there are plenty of ups and downs when considering the longer-term outlook of an adult’s average working life.

The average UK worker will have six jobs, nine pay rises, three bust-ups with colleagues, one office romance and if there was ever any doubt about the British love affair with tea – will make an estimated 29,328 cups of it.

A study by AAT looked into every detail of a standard 47 years in the workplace, finding the average worker starts on around £8,000 a year in their first job, before moving to work for six different firms on their quest for job satisfaction.

Nearly half of people quit and retrain completely during the course of their working lives.

Mark Farrar, CEO of AAT, said: “Our working lives see many ups and downs as we move up the ladder, deal with new challenges, or change job completely.”

He said it was particularly revealing to see that “the average person will work for at least six different companies over a lifetime, proving that the traditional ‘job for life’ may well be a thing of the past. People should always ensure they take up training opportunities and their skills are up to date so they can be ready if they need to change job.”

British workers will also build up 9,024 hours of unpaid overtime – equating to four extra hours a week at a loss of £153,408. The average worker believes their time is worth around £17 an hour.

Over half felt their commitment to work had impacted how their relationships and personal life turned out, with more than two thirds saying focusing on progressing in the workplace had disrupted their work-life balance.

Some 45 per cent said they had been made redundant at least once, enduring two periods of serious financial concern. When looking for employment, the typical UK worker plods through ten job interviews, though one in ten have to sit through 25.

While there will be three significant arguments in the workplace – with colleagues, employers or clients, small tiffs occur some 15 times a year. There are also amorous feelings afoot, as the average worker enjoys an office romance – though six per cent rack up five or more.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, workers hear six juicy snippets of gossip through the rumour mill while they’re working too.

AAT polled 2,000 adults on their work life so far, with estimated lifetime figures based on starting work at 18 and retiring at 65.

A lifetime of work will see:

  • One office romance
  • Two bad bosses
  • Three heavy bust-ups
  • Six job roles
  • Six different companies
  • Nine pay rises
  • 94 sick days
  • Being late 141 times
  • 705 minor disagreements
  • 9,024 hours of overtime
  • 29,328 cups of tea

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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