Average Working Hours

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Average Working Hours - Stats

The average hours worked per week by Americans in technology firms and creative agencies surpass 34.4.


  • 9 AM to 5 PM is the traditional working time frame in the United States from Monday to Friday. However, some companies are becoming more flexible and allowing their employees to decide on their own working schedules.
  • Nevertheless, this does not mean that things are getting easier for every employee out there. Many Americans still work for long hours, even longer than the standard 40 hours a week.
  • To make matters worse, for some, work does not stop when its time to go home. They still have to catch up with deadlines and emails while at home to move up the career ladder.
  • According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average hours worked per week by Americans is 34.4 for those between the age of 25 and 54. Their average working hours per week is 40.5.
  • Additionally, men work longer than women with average hours per week being 41.0 and 36.4 hours, respectively.

Average Working Hours — Technology Companies

  • It is believed that the ideal person to work in a tech firm should have no other commitments, child-free, and have perfect health because this is the best way to survive in an industry that requires people to work for long hours.
  • According to a study conducted on IT employees, 54% of the respondents said that they work more than 40 hours a week, while 18% and 17% of them said they work more than 60 and 50 hours a week, respectively.
  • According to an article from Monster, if one is looking for a typical 40-hour workweek in Silicon Valley, it would be practically impossible to work there because almost everyone there works a lot more than 40 hours a week.
  • Moreover, since expectations are quite high, it forces people to work longer hours.
  • The average working hours for IT firms is 52 hours per week.
  • For instance, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on how people work long-hours in Elon Musk’s electric-car company. Musk responded by saying that other places are easier to work but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.

Average Working Hours — Creative Agencies (Marketing and Advertising)

  • Working in creative agencies is not different when it comes to stressful, long working hours.
  • Reports indicate that some employees work for 50 hours or more per week in creative agencies.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most advertising sales agents work more than 40 hours in a typical work week as well as on weekends and evenings.
  • On the other hand, according to CareerBalance, people working in the advertising industry often end up working long nights and even during weekends.
  • According to Search Journal Engine, 38% of digital marketers work 8 hours a day, 33% work 9-12 hours every day, and 15% of them work whenever they are awake.
  • According to LetPublish, the average working hours at Ogilvy is approximately 9 hours a day which is 45 hours or more per week.


Despite a comprehensive search, we were unable to identify the average working hours for creative agencies and technology firms.

We began our search by looking into Insider, Forbes, CNBC, and TheBalanceCareer. Some of these sources had many facts about the average working hours in the United States but none of them focused on creative agencies and technology companies. We did, however, find the number of average working hours for IT firms from an outdated source but couldn't locate new sources to back it up.

Next, we proceeded to search sources such as Statista, IBIS World, Deloitte, and Mckinsey to find statistics on the average working hours for creative agencies and technology companies. When this strategy proved to be futile, we narrowed down our search to IT, marketing, and advertising companies. Our goal was to find data or statistics we could use to triangulate the answers since precompiled reports are unavailable. Nevertheless, this strategy did not provide any significant data.
As our last resort, we examined government sources such as the Bureau of Labour Statistics to find reports concerning the said subject. The BLS is a governmental agency which collects and disseminates essential statistics and data about labor. However, the database did not contain information about what we were looking for. A few of the insights that we found to be relevant were added to the research brief.
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Average Working Hours - Trends

In the US, prime-age adults in 2016 worked more hours per year compared to 1979 because women were working more hours. The percentage of labor force working 49 hours or more per week has increased from 13 percent in 1976 to 16.1 percent in 2017.

General Labor Trends in the US:

  • Prime-age adults in 2016 worked more hours per year compared to 1979 because women were working more hours.
  • Increased labor force participation and more hours for working women contributed to the growth.
  • White women increased their work hours the most from 1979 to 2016.
  • Prime-age men are working fewer hours because they have become more disconnected from the labor force.
  • The lowest earners, who had worked the fewest hours, increased their work hours the most from 1979 to 2016, except for white and black men.
  • White, Black, and Hispanic women in the bottom fifth of earners increased annual their work hours more compared to higher earning women.
  • The largest increases in men’s work hours were among Hispanic men in the bottom fifth, black men in the middle fifth and white men in the top fifth earners.
  • All low-wage-earning men worked fewer hours per week in 2016 than in 1979.

Other Trends:

  • While the percentage of workers reporting 40-hour work weeks is largely the same, the proportion of those reporting very long hours—defined as 49 hours or more per week—has increased from 13 percent in 1976 to 16.1 percent in 2017.

Research Strategy:

We started by looking for trends around the working hours of the labor force in the US in governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the OCED, BLS, EPI, and Pewresearch but we were only able to find general demographic trends on the annual working hours in the US. We also looked for case studies on the US workforce and their working hours in order to find studies conducted across the US where the results were ranked based on their affect. However, the information from case studies in sources like CFR, Catalyst, CSIS, and HBR only focused on the change in the US labor force throughout the years.