Baby boomers struggle with work-life balance

Hays research reveals that "baby boomers" struggle with work-life balance whilst younger workers more satisfied with balance.

Millenials relaxing and reading
Relocate Magazine January 2019 Cover Read Now
  • Gen Z mastered balancing act while baby boomers remain weighed down by work, Hays research revealed
  • Younger workers most satisfied with work-life balance, as 63% rated either good or very good 
  • Almost half of baby boomers (49%) rated work-life balance average to very poor
  • Only 18% of employers believe work-life balance is important for attracting staff, despite the 30% of professionals who prioritise this when considering a new role
New entrants to the workplace look set to build a better work-life balance than generations before them, new research reveals. Almost two-thirds (63%) of Generation Z, those born after 1995, rate their work-life balance as being either good or very good which surpassed all other age groups surveyed in data from the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide.An optimistic perception of work-life balance is mirrored in overall job satisfaction among this age group, 78% of whom said they were currently happy in their roles. The fulfilment younger workers are experiencing from commitment to their current jobs reflects new expectations of flexible working schedules upon entering the workforce.

Baby boomers unsure about benefits of flexible work

Satisfaction of work-life balance was lower amongst older age groups, with baby boomers admitting they are the most dissatisfied with how much time they spend at work. Almost half (49%) of this age group believe their work-life balance is between average and very poor.Whilst close to half (43%) of Generation Z would choose to change their working hours to include flexible working, baby boomers are unaware of the benefit this could have towards improving their work-life balance. Only 36% of this generation would change their working hours in a bid to improve their work-life balance.Despite a high proportion of employers (87%) offering flexible working options, only 57% of employees are currently using options including part-time working, flexi-time and home or remote working. However, 84% of staff say flexible working options are important when considering a new role, suggesting employers aren’t doing enough to promote options available to their existing workforce.

Employers continue to underestimate importance of work-life balance and flexible working

The research revealed that employers still underestimate the appeal of offering a positive work-life balance and flexible working in competing for talent, as only 18% deem this to be important for attracting staff. Close to a third of professionals (30%) said an appealing work-life balance with flexible working options is the most important factor when considering a new role, so employers are urged to consider how they position such offerings when looking to hire.Furthermore, the number of employees rating their work-life balance as very poor to average remains static from last year at 45%, indicating a clear potential for employers to appeal to those seeking a more positive balance.The main request to improve work-life balance for over a third (39%) of professionals was a change in working hours. When already struggling with staff shortages, offering and promoting these options is a valuable aid to attraction and retention. Benefits that complement work-life balance, such as a generous holiday entitlement, are also attractive to employees.

Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland, commented,

“There is no denying flexible working is now a core component of the modern working world. Flexible ways of working have been endorsed by the growing gig economy, where adaptability, agility and efficiency are at the heart of a new model of work. Embracing this presents a huge opportunity to boost careers.In addition, happy employees who strike a good balance between their work commitments and lifestyle tend to be more productive and want to stay with organisations for longer. In turn, for employers it is incredibly important to communicate to staff the benefits of taking time to do something that they enjoy away from work.Being clear about what makes you stand out as an employer, from salary and benefits to flexible working options, will help you appeal to candidates waiting for the perfect opportunity to move.”
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