Global dissatisfaction with work life balance on the rise

Report finds increasing dissatisfaction with work-life balance

More than one in four employees (27 per cent) at organizations that are not perceived to support work-life balance plan to leave their companies within the next two years, according to new research from Hay Group. At the same time, work-life balance concerns across the globe are on the rise, with 39 per cent of employees indicating that they did not have a “good balance” between work and personal life, compared to only 32 per cent who reported the same in 2011. “Organizations across the globe continue to ask their employees to ‘do more with less’, leading to increasing dissatisfaction with work-life balance,” said Mark Royal, senior principal at Hay Group Insight.

According to the global management consulting firm’s Insight 2012 report there are also concerns in about the number of workers available to complete the work required, with the majority of employees (52 per cent) reporting that there are not enough people to do the work in their area.

Said Royal: “Tactical solutions like telecommuting options or flexible work schedules will not be enough to successfully address these mounting concerns. Organizations must also focus on long-term solutions to work-life balance issues by helping employees work more productively and identifying opportunities to begin rebuilding their workforces. By providing enabling work environments and additional people resources organizations can help employees accomplish work tasks as efficiently as possible, leaving more time to attend to personal responsibilities and garnering higher levels of organizational loyalty.”

Hay Group Insight’s research also found that employees who perceived work life balance support from their organizations reported greater confidence in their companies’ ability to recruit top talent and more satisfaction with their compensation. Specifically, perceived support for work-live balance led to:

  • Increased Confidence in Ability to Recruit Top Talent: When employees were asked about “the ability of the company to attract high quality employees,” 71 per cent of those from leading organizations for work-life balance provided ratings of “good” or “very good,” compared to only 45 per cent of employees in laggard organizations for work-life balance.
  • Higher Satisfaction with Compensation: Among leading organizations for work-life balance, 58 per cent of employees agreed with the statement “I believe I am paid fairly for the work I do.” That’s compared to only 36 per cent of employees in organizations ranked in the bottom quartile for work-life balance.

“Employees are working longer hours with more erratic schedules than ever before,” added Royal. To address work-life balance issues and lessen the workloads of top employees, organizations need to develop fundamental solutions to enable their current workforces and think strategically about which key roles need to be supplemented from the outside.  Those that don’t may see their high performing and high potential employees either burn out or walk out.”

According to Hay Group Insight’s 2012 data, organizations in Central America ranked the highest in work-life balance, with 70 per cent of employees saying their organizations support them in achieving a reasonable balance between work and personal life. North America followed close behind with 65 per cent, followed by Eastern Asia (63 per cent), Latin America and the Caribbean (63 per cent) and Southern Asia (62 per cent).

In Western Europe, only 44 per cent of employees said their organizations support them in achieving a reasonable work-life balance, an 11 percentage point drop from 2011. That’s compared to 56 per cent of employees in Eastern Europe who said their organizations support them in achieving work-life balance.
Work-life balance perceptions ranked the lowest in Africa and the Middle East. Only 44 per cent of employees perceived work-life balance support from their companies. Southern Africa ranked the lowest among the regions with only 43 per cent of employees perceiving work-life balance support from their company, a 9 percentage point decrease from 2011.

By Sara Bean