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New research from Assistant Professor, Hans-Peter Y. Qvist, suggests that people who work long work hours in their paid jobs spend less time on volunteer work.

People who work long hours spend less time on volunteer work

New research from Assistant Professor, Hans-Peter Y. Qvist, suggests that people who work long work hours in their paid jobs spend less time on volunteer work.

Last modified: 10.03.2021

Text: Niels Krogh Søndergaard, communications officer
Photo: Anna Shvets, Pexels

- For a long time, sociologists have counterintuitively argued that people who work long work hours spend more time on volunteering not less. However, sometimes reality turns out to be less complex than what leading sociological theories suggest, says Hans-Peter Y. Qvist.

The Assistant Professor’s research was recently published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly – a leading journal in the field.

- My results suggest that hours of paid work have a significant negative effect on the total number of hours that people spend volunteering, not mainly because paid work hours affect people’s propensity to volunteer but because they affect the number of hours that volunteers contribute, says Hans-Peter Y. Qvist.

► Read more: “Hours of Paid Work and Volunteering: Evidence From Danish Panel Data”

- I believe the main reason why previous research had reached counterintuitive results was that it had failed to take into account the fact that some factors affect the decision to volunteer and how much time the volunteers spend in different ways. For example, we see that people who work long work hours are almost as likely to volunteer as other people but they contribute considerably fewer hours if they get involved, explains Hans-Peter Y. Qvist

- My results are important because recruiters in voluntary organizations often direct their efforts towards people who have a high social status. However, these people often turn out to have little time on their hands because of their paid work responsibilities. In this light, a more fruitful recruitment strategy could be to look beyond the usual suspect – for example towards the unemployed who have time on their hands and often turn out to have much more personal resources than recruiters think, says Hans-Peter Y. Qvist

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