New analysis published by the TUC 31 October 2016, shows that the number of people who work night shifts in the West Midlands increased by 22,000 (9%) between 2011 and 2016 to 267,000.

One in eight employees in the region is now regularly doing night work.

 

Women are fuelling the growth in night work.

Women account for all (100%) of the growth in night-working over the past five years.

Between 2011 and 2016 the number of women regularly doing night work in the West Midlands increased by 28,000, while for men it fell by 6,000.

However, there are still more men employees (one in seven) working nights than women (one in ten).

 

Care work is the most common form of night work

The most common profession for night-workers in the West Midlands by some distance is care work (34,000), followed by nursing and midwifery (19,000) and protective service jobs (15,000).

 

People in the mid-40s are most likely to be night-workers

Across the UK, the age group with the highest proportion of night-workers is 45-49. They account for one in 8 of those who usually work nights.

Male night-workers are most likely to be aged between 45–49. However, the most common age group for women night-workers is 25–29. 

Commenting on the analysis, TUC Regional Secretary Lee Barron said:

“Tonight most of us can look forward to an extra hour in bed. But as we sleep, tens of thousands of workers will be busy keeping the West Midlands ticking over.

“Whether its nurses looking after patients, or police officers keeping our streets safe, we all depend on the region’s army of night-workers.

“Night work is hard and can disrupt family life. So we must show our appreciation for the sacrifices night workers make by ensuring they have good rights and protections at work.

“Employers must play fair and play safe, or public safety will be put at risk and the families of night workers will suffer.”

 

The work-life balance impacts of night-working

The negative health impacts of night work are already well-documented, such as heightened risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression. However, less attention has been given to the impacts on home life and relationships.

The TUC does not oppose night working, but argues that employers must properly consider and address its impact on staff. Decisions to extend night working should always involve talks with unions.

 

Fairness and safety for night-workers

The TUC recommends that:

  • Employers and unions should ensure that night working is only introduced where necessary;
  • Where night working is introduced into a workplace, no existing workers should be forced to work nights;
  • Shift patterns should be negotiated between unions and employers;
  • Workers should have some element of control over their rotas, so that they can ensure that the shifts they work are best suited to their individual circumstances;
  • Workers should always have sufficient notice of their shift patterns so they can make arrangements well in advance. Changes at short notice should be avoided;
  • The remuneration paid to those working nights should properly reflect the likely additional costs of childcare and inconvenience that night shifts can entail.

 

Night-working by region/nation

Region/nation

2011

2016

Growth 2011-2016

% change 2011-2016

% of all employees working nights 2016

North East

152,600

142,997

-9,603

-6.3%

13.8%

North West

337,791

354,735

16,944

5.0%

12.5%

Yorkshire and Humberside

245,592

257,689

12,097

4.9%

12.7%

East Midlands

209,913

237,082

27,168

12.9%

12%

West Midlands

244,894

267,451

22,556

9.2%

11.8%

East of England

266,283

250,526

-15,756

-5.9%

9.4%

London

323,519

421,459

97,940

30.3%

11.9%

South East

355,939

391,501

35,561

10.0%

10.6%

South West

213,969

264,030

50,061

23.4%

11.7%

Wales

137,454

177,782

40,327

29.3%

14.5%

Scotland

309,201

270,036

-39,164

-12.7%

11.9%

Northern Ireland

63, 126

99,572

36,446

57.7%

11.4%

Total

2,860,286

313,4866

274,580

9.6%

11.8%

 Source: Labour Force Survey

 

Increase in male and female night-working in the West Midlands

 

Total  2016

Total 2011

% of all usually work nights

Increase 2011-2016

% increase 2011-2016

 

267,452

244,895

 

22,557

9%

Men

161,118

167,541

13.4

-6,424

-3%

Women

106,334

77,354

10.0

28,981

12%

Source: Labour force survey

 

Top five most common professions for night-workers in the West Midlands

 Occupation

Total number  2016

% of all usually work nights 2016

Caring Personal Services'

34,828

13%

Nursing and Midwifery Professionals'

19,148

7%

Protective Service Occupations'

15,665

6%

Process Operatives'

14,852

6%

Other Elementary Services Occupations'

14,085

5%

Source: Labour force survey