Using panel survey data from Australia, we divide long hours workers (persons reporting usually working 50 or more hours per week) into groups of ‘volunteers’, who prefer long hours, and ‘conscripts’, who do not. We study both the static and dynamic prevalence of the phenomenon. Norms surrounding ideal workers and consumerism play major roles in explaining conscript status, with bargaining power less important. The self‐employed often appear as volunteers or conscripts, while gender, rather than motherhood, is a strong predictor of shorter work hours. Both the demand and supply sides of the labour market play a role in explaining the prevalence of long hours conscripts.