The prevalence of job postings advertising a 4-day workweek has shown a steady increase in recent years, though it remains relatively low overall. According to a report released on October 30 by Indeed’s Hiring Lab, these postings have risen from a mere 0.1% in September 2019 to nearly 0.3% in September 2023.
What’s intriguing is that this surge in job postings offering a 4-day workweek has primarily occurred within traditional in-person industries rather than remote-friendly sectors. The majority of these advertisements have surfaced in fields such as veterinary services, dentistry, and manufacturing. This trend is partly a response to the demands of workers in these industries for shorter workweeks, with many engaging in strikes to push for these changes.
Economists Allison Shrivastava and Nick Bunker, associated with Indeed’s Hiring Lab, noted, “A 4-day workweek may be gaining popularity, but it has a long way to go before becoming the norm.” They speculated that the future will reveal whether it remains a rare benefit offered to in-person job roles to stay competitive or becomes an expectation for job seekers and a common demand in union negotiations. However, they emphasized that the road to a standardized 4-day workweek, especially for office workers, is still quite long.
In terms of specific sectors, the veterinary services industry has seen the most significant increase in job postings mentioning a 4-day workweek, with an increase of 1.39 percentage points over the past four years. Dentistry follows with an increase of 0.9 percentage points, and fields like industrial engineering, driving, and architecture have also seen approximately 0.3 percentage point growth.
91% of the 60 participating companies expressed their intention to continue offering a 4-day workweek
While manufacturing and production job postings promoting a 4-day workweek have increased by 40% since September 2019, this translates to a shift from 0.5% to 0.7% in absolute terms. Leaders of the United Auto Workers have pushed for a 4-day workweek as part of their contract negotiations and strikes against major automakers in the United States, but the future growth of such opportunities in the manufacturing sector remains uncertain.
The idea of a 4-day workweek has garnered support from approximately 80% of office workers who believe it would enhance their productivity, according to a report from ResumeBuilder.com. Additionally, around three-quarters of them expressed their willingness to switch jobs, and one-third were open to taking a pay cut in exchange for a 4-day workweek.
In a six-month pilot program involving reduced workweek schedules, 91% of the 60 participating companies expressed their intention to continue offering a 4-day workweek, as per a recent update from 4 Day Week Global. During the pilot, these companies reported a 35% year-over-year increase in revenue, higher levels of hiring, and reduced absenteeism.
However, it’s worth noting that a 4-day workweek may not be suitable for all employees. O.C. Tanner, an employee recognition company, attempted to provide schedule flexibility to both its deskless factory workers and desk-based employees but ultimately discontinued the experiment. Nonetheless, company leaders considered it a valuable learning experience that demonstrated their commitment to listening to and caring for their workers.