Is it high noon for drinks o'clock?

It’s the time of year when the days are longer, evenings are brighter and most of us try to spend as much time as possible outdoors. We’ve already seen temperatures soar above 30 degrees and when the mercury reaches that level Britain usually scrambles for either a BBQ or the coast.

A lot of workers, especially after a long day in the office or on a construction site, will head to their local pub garden to toast the sunshine with a cold alcoholic drink. Or perhaps not.

Fewer of us are drinking

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show fewer adults are drinking than at any point in the last 12 years. The statisticians found that last year 57% of adults aged 16 and above drank alcohol in the week before they were surveyed. That’s the lowest level since 2005 (64%).

Young people aged 16 to 24 years are less likely to drink than any other age group but when they do...boy do they binge! But it’s not just younger drinkers who are putting it away over a night or two - the highest earners, those earning £40,000 and above, are more likely to be frequent drinkers and binge on their heaviest drinking day.

Work drinks can help cohesion

For centuries, construction workers have clocked off and headed together for a drink. Nothing wrong with that. Indeed there a positives to having a drink with colleagues especially when it comes to cohesion and bonding. 

But more harmful is last year’s Demos study that claimed 37% of construction workers drink heavily. That’s a problem. And with an ageing workforce - our Age of Construction report last year found a quarter of house building professionals will be in their 50s by 2020 - old habits perhaps die hard. 

Brickies hardly the booziest

But it’s not just builders, sparkies and plumbers who enjoy a post-work tipple. Walk round the City of London on any given weekday and you’ll see streams of financial workers swilling back booze. Liquid lunches are legendary in finance and media and PR professionals are similarly known to enjoy a drop. Or two.

The key, as we are often told, is to drink in moderation but when it comes to construction, as well as other industries, another solution to heavy drinking could be the attitudes of younger recruits. They in turn play an important role in the sustainability of construction and could usher in a drier era.

Owen Goodhead is managing director of Randstad Construction, Property and Engineering

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