Too much time spent on paid work leads to a reduction in study time
Full time students working more than 10 hours a week spend on average less time on their studies than students who do not work.
In 2016, one in three full time students in Norway had paid work during the whole semester, as results from the survey Eurostudent VI show. The share of students having paid work increases with students’ age. In the group of students aged 30 years or older, 41 per cent have paid work during the whole semester. The results show, however, that it is also common to work among the youngest students. 1 in 4 students aged 21 years or younger have paid work alongside their studies.
Figure 1. Share of full time students having paid work during the semester, by age. Per cent. N=6471
|Full time students|
|21 and younger||23.15|
|30 years and older||40.62|
1 in 5 fulltime students work more than 10 hours a week
Paid work alongside the studies can give students valuable work experience, but can also have a negative effect on their performance and grades. Figure 2 shows the share of full time students distributed by how much time they spend on paid work every week. Voluntary work and other factors having an influence on study time are not part of the survey.
As mentioned earlier, one third of the students have paid work during the whole semester. Around 10 per cent of the students work either 1-5 or 6-10 hours a week. However, we also see that more than 20 per cent of the students work 11 hours or more a week. This includes 5 per cent mentioning that they work on average 30 hours or more – in addition to studying full time.
Figure 2. Distribution of full time students by time spent on paid work per week. Per cent. N=6471
|Figure 2. Distribution of full time students by time spent on paid work per week. Per cent. N=6471|
|1 - 5 hours||2.3|
|6- 10 hours||8.5|
|11- 15 hours||8|
|16- 20 hours||6.6|
|21- 25 hours||2.6|
|26- 30 hours||1.8|
|30 hours or more||3|
Working few hours a week does not to result in less study time
Figure 3 shows how time spent on paid work influences how much time students spend on personal study activities, taught studies and the total study time. Working few hours a week does not seem to result in decreasing study time. Students who do not work and students working 1-5 or 6-10 hours a week spend an equal amount of time on study-related activities.
When the time spent on paid work exceeds 10 hours a week, we can see that there is a decrease in the average amount of time spent on study-related activities, and this decrease is especially pronounced if the amount of paid work is higher than 25 hours a week.
Those working more than that, spend less time on both taught studies and personal study activities. But the students working less than 25 hours a week spend nearly as much time on taught studies than non-working students.
The time spent on personal study activities, on the other hand, decreases already if students work more than 10 hours a week. Students working 26-30 hours and those working more than 30 hours a week spend on average 17 hours a week on personal studies. For comparison, non-working students spend 23 hours a week on personal study activities.
Figure 3. Study time by time spent on paid work, full time students. Hours per week. N=6471
|0||1-5||6-10||11-15||16- 20||21- 25||26- 30||30+|
Students at long national degrees study most
Full time students in Norway have an average total workload of 43 hours a week. Of these, 35 hours are spent on study-related activities and 8 hours are spent on paid work. This corresponds to the use of time full time students reported in the study barometer of the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education.
Results from Eurostudent V showed that even if Norwegian students spend a lot of time on paid work alongside their studies, they do not spend less time on study-related activities than students from other European countries.
Yet, figure 4 shows that there are variations in how much time is spent on work and studies between different study programmes. Master students and students taking long national degrees (5- or 6-year programmes) have the highest total workload with 47 and 49 hours respectively.
Compared to other types of study programmes, students at 5- or 6-year programmes of long national degrees spend most time on study-related activities – 42 hours a week. Both bachelor and master students spend on average 8 hours a week on paid work, but master students spend more time on study-related activities.
Figure 4. Time spent on paid work and studies, by study programme. Full time students. Hours per week. N=6471
|5- or 6- year long national degree||42.17||6.91|
|Other programme, including single subjects||29.11||12.33|
Small differences in the total workload between different fields
Some study programs have more organized taught activities than others. Students studying “engineering, manufacturing and construction” and students studying “natural sciences, mathematics and statistics” spend most time on personal studies, with around 26 hours a week. This equals 9 hours more compared to students studying «education».
The amount of taught studies varies from 10 hours for “social sciences” and “humanities” to 19 hours a week for students studying “health and welfare”.
As for time spent on paid work, the figure shows that students spending most time on personal studies on average spend least time on paid work. With 10 hours a week, students studying “business, administration and law” spend most time on paid work alongside their studies.
Even though there are variations in how the use of time is distributed, there are no big differences in the total workload of studies and paid work. It varies from slightly less than 40 hours a week for students studying “social sciences” or “education” to 47 hours a week for students studying “engineering, manufacturing and construction.”
Figure 5. Time spent on studies and paid work, by field. Full time students. Hours per week. N=6471
|Personal studytime||Taught studies||Paid work|
|Business and law||22.91||11.73||9.71|
|Health and welfare||18.02||18.85||8.54|
|Engineering, manufacturing and construction||25.99||15.9||4.7|
One in five work «too much»
Figure 3 indicates that fulltime students who work up to 10 hours a week spend as much time on study-related activities as students who do not have paid work during the semester. Yet, as we saw throughout the article, there are differences in the use of time according to study programme and study field. The relationship between time spent on paid work and time spent on studies is examined further in a linear regression model.
The results in table 1 show that there are no differences in the study time between non-working students and students working up to 10 hours a week. However, if students work more than 20 hours a week, they spend less time on their studies. Thus, this affects more than 20 per cent of the fulltime students in Norway. Students working 11-15 hours a week spend on average 3 hours less on their studies compared to non-working students.
As figure 3 has shown, the decrease in study time is especially marked in case of the students working more than 25 hours a week. For these students, the decline in time spent on study-related activities becomes more pronounced. Students working 26-30 hours a week spent on average more than 7 hours less time on their studies than non-working students, and for students working more than 30 hours a week, the decrease amounts to as much as 10 hours on average.
Results also confirm that students taking a 5- or 6-year national degree or a Master’s degree spend more time on their studies compared to students taking other study programmes, There are also differences between different fields.