'Workaholic' men are working less, study finds

The highest-earning group of men is spending more time off the clock, according to a study reported by The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 26.

Researchers in the economics department at Washington University in St. Louis studied federal data to reach the conclusion, and their findings were published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Their analysis found that the top-earning 10 percent of men logged, on average, 77 fewer work hours in 2022 than the same earnings group did in 2019. That amounts to 1.5 fewer hours spent on the job each week, or a 3 percent reduction in total hours. 

By comparison, the top-earning 10 percent of women logged 29 fewer work hours; that amounts to half an hour fewer per week, or a 1 percent reduction in total hours. 

Men between the ages of 25 and 39 — those traditionally deemed "workaholics" — were most likely to pull back, according to Yongseok Shin, PhD, a professor of economics at Washington University and co-author of the research paper, which has not yet been peer reviewed. This could be because these men were already working longer hours, so they had more time to trim. 

Additionally, COVID-19 allowed many men to be home with their families for the first time — a benefit they are not willing to give up. Married men devote 13 minutes fewer on average to work each day, according to separate data from the Census Bureau. 

Overall, U.S. employees worked 18 fewer hours in 2022 than in 2019. The average employed man worked 28 fewer hours, and the average employed woman worked nine fewer, according to the report. 

Those in the bottom 10 percent of earners tracked an opposite trend. Men in this bracket logged 41 more hours in 2022 than in 2019, and women logged 52 more. 

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