Select Your Cookie Preferences

We use cookies and similar tools that are necessary to enable you to use our website, to enhance your experience, and provide our services, as detailed in our Cookie Notice. We also use these cookies to understand how customers use our services (for example, by measuring site visits) so we can make improvements.

If you agree, we'll also use cookies to complement your website experience, as described in our Cookie Notice. This may include using third party cookies for the purpose of displaying and measuring interest-based ads. Click "Customise Cookies" to decline these cookies, make more detailed choices, or learn more.

Work-life balance seen as more important than career progression

Scrabble-style letter tiles showing the words life, work, balance, family and career

Employees are more interested in work-life balance than climbing the ladder, according to new research.

In a global survey, recruitment agency Randstad found that while over half (56%) of workers consider themselves to be ambitious, rising to 69% for Gen Z, this doesn't correlate to the traditional understanding of career aspirations. Almost half (47%) of workers are not focused on moving up in their career, and the same proportion are willing to stay in a role that they like, even if there's no room to progress or develop. Meanwhile, a third (34%) of workers never want to take on any managerial roles.

Career ambition was cited as important in a job by 70% of employees, but this came below work-life balance (93%), flexibility of working hours (81%) and mental health support (83%).

Skilling, equity and flexibility

This doesn't mean employees have no interest in self-improvement, however, as nearly three quarters (72%) ranked training and development opportunities as important. Meanwhile, nearly a third (29%) said they would quit a job if they weren't offered learning and development opportunities to future-proof their skills, such as training on AI.

Workers are also looking for more equitable workplaces where they feel they belong, and businesses that are in line with their own views and values. In instances where their employer didn't take action on an issue which was important to them, a fifth (21%) have quit their job, with this number rising to 30% among Gen Z.

And continuing a trend that gained momentum during the pandemic, employees value flexibility in where they do their job. Over a third (37%) of workers have made arrangements in their lives, such as moving house or getting a pet, based on the assumption that working from home is here to stay. The same proportion (37%) said they would consider quitting their job if their employer asked them to spend more time in the office.

Work-life balance is top motivator

These findings echo those of a UK survey by HR platform HiBob, in which almost a third (30%) of employees said that proper support for a work-life balance is what motivates them the most while at work. This was followed by working towards a salary increase or promotion (29%).

Taking their work-life balance into their own hands, this year a fifth (22%) of UK workers plan to set boundaries at work and say 'no' more often to requests that would make them work late, extend their working hours or increase their workload beyond what was originally agreed.

Ambition, Balance and Connection

"A new talent ABC is emerging and employers should adopt it if they want to attract and retain their best talent," said Randstad chief executive Sander van 't Noordende. "Ambition, Balance and Connection are key to driving the agenda in a talent scarce world of work.

"There's no one-size-fits all approach, as workers' ambitions, motivations and priorities are becoming more fragmented and personalised. It's crucial that employers communicate regularly with talent about their wants and needs -- whether that be flexible work, career aspirations or learning and development opportunities.

"Embodying a talent-first mindset and truly understanding their personal motivations and priorities, will help set businesses apart."

Posted by Fidelius on January 29th 2024

Loading... Updating page...