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Work-life balance now seen as more important than salary

Woman holding the words 'work' and 'life' on a seesaw

For many years, a good salary and benefits package has been top of the list for a majority of employees when looking for a new job. But changes in the way we work -- and also, perhaps, changes in consumer spending habits -- during the pandemic have shaken up people's priorities, new research shows.

Now, for the first time in seven years, work-life balance has overtaken salary and benefits as the most important factor when choosing an employer.

Recruitment agency Randstad asked more than 9,000 people in the UK what their five most important drivers were when it comes to choosing an employer. Work-life balance was cited by almost two-thirds (65%), followed by attractive salary and benefits (64%).

People are also looking for job security (61%), after a year of downsizing, furloughs and redundancies across the country, as well as good training (58%) and a pleasant work atmosphere (55%).

Analysing the responses according to the type of work people do, 59% of blue-collar workers cited work-life balance as a top priority compared with 68% of white-collar workers. The survey also found that desire for a better work-life balance grows with age, with 70% of 55-64 year olds prioritising it compared with just 59% of 18-24 year olds.

"In some respects, the profound changes in many people's jobs has clearly brought the benefits of flexible working to the surface," commented Randstad UK chief executive Victoria Short.

"Our data suggests there are two groups of workers who want to see a more balanced lifestyle here. For many, remote working has increased the number of hours they are connected to their employers, reflecting the need for a better lifestyle balance. At the same time, some have benefited from working at home by being able to carry out tasks or juggle personal responsibilities around a more flexible work schedule."

However, there is a significant gap between what UK employees want and what their employer offers -- suggesting that employers need to work harder to ensure their organisation remains attractive to current and future employees.

An evaluation of employers' current offerings reveals that work-life balance is in sixth place on the priority list. Looking at the general perception of what employers across the UK offer as a whole, work-life balance slips even further down, to eighth place.

The survey also found that, despite the rise in UK unemployment, one in five employees are planning to leave their current employer to explore new opportunities within the next few months.

"In order to gain credibility in a market where we are slowly seeing candidates regain control and confidence, business leaders must be proactive in listening to the opinions of workers, and ensuring that they are actively encouraged to share their voice via the relevant channels," Short said.

Posted by Fidelius on May 17th 2021

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