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Baby Boomers dissatisfied with work/life balance

Baby Boomers rate their work/life balance as much poorer than younger generations

Almost half (49%) of Baby Boomers (those born before 1965) believe their work/life balance is between average and very poor, according to research from Hays. This compared to almost two-thirds (63%) of Generation Z (those born after 1995) rating their work/life balance as being either good or very good – surpassing all other age groups.

A positive perception of work/life balance was mirrored by overall job satisfaction among Generation Z, 78% of whom said they were currently happy in their roles.

The research found that the most popular step to improve work/life balance was a change in working hours, cited by 39% of professionals.

However, while 43% of Generation Z would choose to change their working hours to include flexible working, only 36% of Baby Boomers would.

The research revealed that employers still underestimate the appeal of offering a positive work/life balance and flexible working. Only 18% of employers deemed this to be important when competing for talent, while 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.

Yet, despite 87% of employers offering flexible working 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 the options available to their existing workforce, the research stated.

Furthermore, the number of employees rating their work/life balance as very poor to average remains static from last year at 45%, indicating an opportunity for employers to appeal to those seeking a better balance.

Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, said the rise of the gig economy has shown that flexible models of working are becoming increasingly popular. “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,” he said.

There are clear business benefits to encouraging work/life balance, he added: “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.”

Salary data in the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 report is compiled using information gathered during 2018 from Hays offices across the UK. It is based on job listings, job offers and candidate registrations.

The recruiting trends and benefit data is based on a survey conducted in June 2018. The survey was completed by almost 3,000 employees and employers from organisations of all sizes and sectors.