Following the discovery that my salary is “105% of the United Kingdom average and 216% of the world average” and in conjuction with the news that Greeks work longer hours than Germans but Germany’s GDP is higher than Greece’s, I decided to investigate. Fortunately, the BBC produced this helpful tool to show me where I fall relative to the average working week. I can’t say I was surprised to discover that “I work 209 hours more than the annual average for United Kingdom. This is 138 hours more than the OECD average.” That’s an extra 5.3 working weeks!
However, I sense a few reasons why this calculator isn’t showing me the full picture. Firstly, the hours I actually work are usually a little longer than my contracted hours – so I entered the actual figure rather than the contracted figure. Secondly, being a shift worker, annual leave days work out a little differently and, not being an economist or an HR administrator, I don’t know how to adjust for that. Thirdly, the question posed in the page tab’s alt text is “How hard do you work?” whereas the title of the piece is “Who works the longest hours?” These two questions are obviously not the same. The hardness of one’s work might be a) subjective, b) show variation over time and c) be classified further into different taxonomies of “hard” e.g. mentally, intellectually, physically, emotionally or technically demanding tasks. The longest hours, on the other hand, might be rather cushy if you happen to be a mattress tester, while less hours on a bomb disposal squad might grate a little more on the nerves.
So having assessed both salary and working hours, how about the question of productivity? I’m not sure the BBC have yet developed a tool to calculate this for me. More particularly, the NHS is not directly a contributor to GDP but rather a consumer of it. In 2008, the NHS budget accounted for about 7% of GDP and this was approaching 10% in 2010/11. Now, before all you tax payers start going on about how you pay my wages, have a little think about the contribution the NHS makes to the health of the nation’s workers. In a country where healthcare is free at the point of delivery and subscriptions are heavily subsidised, people of working age who contribute to GDP are at liberty to take advantage of these resources and remain healthy enough to work. As I mentioned previously, I’m not an economist but I imagine that to calculate the NHS’s contribution to GDP, and my personal piece of the pie as a percentage, I would need to know the following:
- The number of people of working age treated by the NHS per year.
- The number of dependents (on people of working age) treated by the NHS per year.
- The percentage of those treated who are in the employment market.
- The number of sick days prevented per year as a result of said treatment.
- The productivity resulting from the additional working days.
- My contribution to the treatment of individuals mentioned above.
I imagine I would also need to adjust for some factors such as…errrr…part time workers as a share of the employment market/NHS patients, treatment of workers in other sectors which primarily consume GDP rather than generate it, and probably some other things I haven’t even thought of. Oh wait, the impact of private sector healthcare might also need to be assessed as I would imagine all those super rich GDP contributors would have a coronary at the mere thought of stepping inside an NHS institution.
After completing a project which is starting to look as though it will take up the better part of a decade, I might then be able to put a numerical value on my productivity.
All in all, rather a tall order. I bet Tim Harford could crunch the numbers for me if I asked him nicely. He would also, I’m sure, very kindly correct all the silly mistakes I have made as a consequence of my ignorance.
Although this was an attempt at my first ever serious piece, I do just need to have a quick rant about the lack of gender-neutral multi-pack socks in Baby GAP. How can you justify either pink and lilac frills and flowers or dark blue and green dinosaurs? There is a middle ground you know.
For the Total so far…
I’ve discovered points can be awarded negatively or positively depending on which way you look at things. For instance:
GRPs for preventing the catastrophic flooding of my humble abode: +1
GRPs for not clearing the debris from the drain by the front door until after the downpour started: -1
For the sake of fairness we’ll go with the second option.
FitnePs for exercise: +4
FitnePs for eating: -3
CRPs for still not organising an appraisal: -1
FRPs for going into the overdraft last month: -30
Total so far…
- Karma: +20
- FRP: +145.1
- Relationships: +4
- Family: +10
- Friends: +13 [Supplementary PPs: +2]
- Career: +18
- Fitness: +2
- General: +8
- Hospitality: +1