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Time commitment and overtime of researchers

data publication
26 July 2021
researchers university
How divide researchers their time between various tasks and what is their amount of overtime? In this data publication we show how researchers at various institutions divide their time.

In short

  • On average, researchers spend 44% of their time on research.
  • In 2017, researchers worked overtime by more than a quarter of their contracted hours.
  • Average overtime is highest at institutions that are clearly geared towards teaching.

Time commitment

Besides research, researchers also have other tasks, such as teaching, management, knowledge transfer and supervising other researchers. In the figure below, we show that researchers at all five types of institutions devote most of their time to the task of research. Teaching plays an important role at the universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS). Researchers at universities spend an average of 28% of their time on teaching, while those at UAS spend 18% of their time on it. Although knowledge transfer is one of the three core tasks of the research universities, on average university researchers spend only 4% of their time on this task. By comparison, researchers at UAS and PKOs spend about 8% of their time on knowledge transfer.

Overtime

On average, researchers work overtime by more than a quarter of their contracted hours. Average overtime is highest at institutions that are clearly geared towards teaching (universities, university hospitals and UAS). At university hospitals, 44% of researchers work overtime by more than a third of their contracted hours, which in the case of full-time employment means twelve extra hours per week.

Generally speaking, the more senior the position, the more overtime the employee works. For example, full professors at universities work overtime by an average of 45% of their contracted hours, and doctoral candidates by an average of 19%. Associate and assistant professors work overtime by about 29% of their contracted hours. There is a small difference between men and women. On average, men work slightly more overtime than women, i.e. 30% versus 24%.

The amount of overtime is high as compared to the national average of overtime among higher educated people. Among higher educated people, 33% reports to work overtime regularly and 44% reports to work overtime sometimes. On average they report 3,6 hours per week overtime when working on average 4,3 days a week (TNO and CBS, 2019). This is equal to 10% of their contracted hours.