November 25, 2016
The term ‘work-life balance’ has been promised by large corporations for years – and it now could finally become a key factor choosing a career. According to a worldwide survey, the upcoming generation of Y and Z workers demand more flexibility, less face-time, and rather than having to account for half-day annual leave, attending school plays or meetups, expect to be trusted to do the job on their terms. However, the research by Emolument also claims that in some industries, implementing such a shift in perception and practice is still a long way off, as client demands in terms of reactivity and timeliness remain unchanged. Employers do understand that dissatisfaction with work-life balance is more and more likely to be a reason for quitting though, and that higher pay struggles to compensate for time spent away from family and friends. With more pressure on women to cover for childcare commitment, housework and logistics, 42 percent of women say they’ve a bad work/life balance compared to 33 percent of men.
In the study which asked 1,360 professionals how they feel about their work-life balance: engineering and IT workers are much happier with their work-life balance compared to other respondents. Location, gender, and seniority level also have a major impact on work-life balance. Seventy one percent of engineers and software developers consider their work-life balance to be either great or satisfactory. These highly sought-after employees are often able to negotiate perks such as unlimited holidays, flexible hours or days working from home. Not being in a client-facing role, these jobs do not demand set hours at a desk.
Consultants are notorious for working long hours, and unsurprisingly are the most unhappy, as 49 percent consider their work-life balance to be awful. At their clients’ beck and call, they are rarely in control of their working location and hours.
An overwhelming 81 percent of fund managers find their work-life balance either great or satisfactory. Fund managers are clients to sell-side professionals (traders, institutional sales, research analysts working at banks), and therefore able to dictate their own timetables, not bound to be in before clients are and markets open. And while they can usually leave at a reasonable hour as markets close, fund managers can also be somewhat flexible in their working arrangements, being in a less pressurised client-driven environment compared to their sell-side counterparts.
While only earning a fraction as front office staff, middle and back office professionals are under pressure from traders and salespeople to deliver impeccable outputs in a highly time-sensitive manner. They are more often blamed and rarely congratulated by their front office teams, on top of which they tend to work long hours, tidying up transactions and troubleshoot long after traders have gone home.
With 71 percent of its workers satisfied by their work-life balance. 5 weeks holidays and 35 hours working week go some way to explaining The French’ enthusiasm, though many have forsaken the 35 hour week, and leaving before 7.30pm can be perceived as ‘going home early’. And despite Spain’s unique 2-hours lunch break, employees go home late, often around 8pm, which does not make for a good work-life balance with as much as 55 percent of professionals considering it to be awful.
To view the entire report click here.