Return to work (RTW) has been specifically identified as a high priority in patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty (THA). This investigation sought to assess the effect of the stem design on patients' RTW. Secondly, the study aimed to identify risk factors that lead to a delayed RTW. Questionnaires inquiring about RTW, employment history, educational level, type of work, physical demands and joint awareness were administered by post. Further data were collected from patients' hospital records. 176 patients who underwent THA using a short-stem and 97 patients using a straight-stem design were compared. The median return to work time was 10 weeks [IQR 7-14 weeks], with no significant difference between the two groups (short stems vs. straight stems; 10 [IQR 7-14] vs. 11 [7.5-13.5] weeks; p = 0.693). In the multivariate linear regression analysis, self-employment vs. employee (p = 0.001), dimension of preoperative workload (p = 0.001), preoperative sick leave (p < 0.001), and hospital length of stay (LOS) (p < 0.001) independently affected the period until work was resumed. The Forgotten-Joint-Score-12 showed no significant difference between the two groups. The data show that the majority of THA patients can expect to resume work and stem design has no impact on RTW. Employees with preoperative sick leave, prolonged hospital LOS and low workload are at higher risk for a delayed RTW.