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New report compares 2012 working life to 1952

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A new report has compared the working life of employees in 1952 with those of today and found that staff were under just as much pressure then.

Commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Dr John Philpott found that the average working week consisted of 48 hours back then compared to 37 hours now.

Working practices have changed dramatically since the 1950s with technology making ideas such as flexible and mobile working a reality.

One of the main differences the report uncovered was that in 1952 the number of people employed in the manufacturing industry was 8.7 million which has now shrunk to 2.5 million.

As you look around the office it is interesting to think that in the 1950s there is a chance your job may not have even existed.

Double the number of people now work in personnel posts swelling from 200,000 to 400,000.

Dr Philpott said: “People do not seem much happier about their working lives. Many exhibit the symptoms of work-related stress.”

Despite an image of the 1950s housewife enduring in many people’s minds there were actually far fewer stay at home women than might be expected.

Half of women of working age had a job in 1952 and this stands at two-thirds today, but surprisingly the figures for men have gone in the opposite direction.

Only 75 per cent of men work today, but back in the 1950s this figure stood at 96 per cent of those considered to be of working age.

What all of these figures show is that many employees worked longer hours 50 years ago, but on the whole were happier.

The perception that work puts more pressure on people now than ever is challenged by the findings, which also show that the 26 per cent of people who now work part-time is a relatively high figure.

In 1952 only four per cent had a part-time job, which goes to show that the options are more diversified than they used to be.

Dr Philpott suggests that information overload is to blame for an apparent lack of happiness with regard to work these days with smartphones making the workload harder to escape.

1952 was the year the African Queen was released at the cinema.