Most American employees work a fixed number of hours each week, according to a report recently released by Gallup.

82% | Percentage of all U.S. workers who say the number of hours they work each week is fixed
18% | Percentage of all U.S. workers who say the number of hours they work varies from week to week

According to the survey, the majority of workers in the “varying hours” group do not consider the variability of hours a problem or a financial hardship. 

67% | Percentage of variable-hour workers who say their hours don’t cause hardship
52% | Prefer their hours to vary
44% | Prefer a consistent number of hours

Regardless of whether or not they prefer it, the majority (57%) of those who work variable hours have little choice in the matter: They report that their employer determines the number of hours they work each week.

Workers who have variable hours tend to be younger, with lower education levels and lower income, when compared with the overall U.S. employed population.


According to Gallup, here are some implications and possible reasons for the results of the survey.

  • It is possible that participants in “gig” employment (or, the “on-demand economy”) are growing the number of variable-hour workers
  • Varying, unpredictable work hours does not appear to be a major problem in the U.S. today
  • Variable working hours could provide flexibility for students or those who have retired from their primary career.
  • Gallup data show that a majority who work in this particular framework are satisfied with the consistency of their weekly schedule.
  • In general, despite some media reports to the contrary, those who are involved in this work lifestyle appear to be content with at least some aspects of their irregular schedule.




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