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Guide To Shift Patterns

As a specialist maintenance recruitment consultancy we are constantly asking engineers what they are looking for in a new job and along with salary we hear one answer over and over again – shift patterns.

Preferences will vary from person to person, day shifts Monday to Friday can mean more time with families or on other activities but will usually pay far less than working unsociable hours. Employers will have set shift patterns planned to meet the needs of the business so it is important to consider the shifts before applying for any job.


The most common shift patterns are:



4 on, 4 off 12 hour shifts including days and nights. Typically start and finish at 6am / 6pm, 4 day shifts, 4 off, 4 night shifts, 4 off. 4 separate teams of engineers to cover each shift over 24 hours / 7 days.



Similar to continental but with a slower rotating pattern over 14 days, usually 12 hour shifts, 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off involving days and nights


Typically 8 hour shifts Monday to Friday but can sometimes include weekends with days off during the week. Usually worked in smaller companies that do not operate 24/7 or with larger companies who can offer flexibility. In some cases engineers can be required to attend call outs or work overtime if the company is operating outside these hours.


Generally just weeknights either Sunday to Thursday or Monday to Friday, typical hours 10am-6pm. Used by companies operating 24 hours during the week but either closed or on shorter hours at weekends.


2 or 3 Shifts


8 hour shifts typically 6am-2pm / 2pm-10pm / 10pm-6am Monday to Friday. Can be either double days rotating or 3 shifts rotating weekly

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