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Work-Life Balance Keeps Employees Happy

15th August 2011

Work-Life Balance Keeps Employees Happy

Work-life balance tops the list of things Kiwis value in a workplace, according to new research by leading finance and accounting recruiter Robert Half.

The research found work-life balance is the factor that 79 per cent of New Zealand finance and accounting professionals rank as a number one priority. It was more important for women (86%) than men (72%).

Three quarters (77%) of those surveyed also prioritised working in an enjoyable environment, while having a manager they respect and can learn from (69%) rounded out the top three benefits most valued in the workplace.

Working for a stable company (58%) and having job security (47%) were also important considerations but sat further down the list.

At the other end of the scale, the findings suggested that working for a socially responsible company was of little concern compared to the values above, with just 28 per cent of respondents listing it as important to them. Having access to good technology (40%) and short commuting distance (38%) were other lower ranking considerations.

Robert Half New Zealand general manager, Megan Alexander, says “New Zealanders have a reputation for being conscientious employees, but as these findings show, we value our ‘down time’ too.”

“Fifty nine percent of respondents in our latest survey reported an increased workload in the last 12 months, with 22 per saying their workload had increased ‘significantly’. 35% of those who said that they workload had increased attributed this to the fact that their company has experienced growth but staffing levels has stayed the same.

“This extra pressure, combined with a small increase in the level of hiring and skilled employees having more opportunities in the job market, has seen work-life balance become more of a focus and priority. People are fed up with working long hours and simply aren’t going to put up with it in many cases. Managers need to act now to ensure workers are getting the balance they need. If they burn out – they’re likely to walk out,” she warns.

The good news is that job satisfaction remains high for finance and accounting staff in New Zealand with almost three quarters (73%) satisfied with their current role. Just fifteen per cent are dissatisfied and 12 per cent are unsure.

However, while satisfaction seems relatively high this is not a sign that employers should rest on their laurels. Given the right inducement, 94% of finance and accounting staff would be tempted to move jobs, with increased pay or more challenging responsibilities the most likely to entice staff to change companies.

Interestingly, the Robert Half survey also found there are different factors at play enticing men and women to seek out or accept a new job.

Women are more likely to be attracted by a flexible schedule and the ability work from home (12% of women versus 3% of men), or the opportunity to work for an inspirational manager (14% of women versus 6% of men).

Men are drawn to a new role that pays them more (29% of men versus 22% of women) and provides more challenging responsibilities (23% of men versus 15% of women).

Being armed with this information and factoring it into your HR planning is an invaluable advantage when working on retention and hiring,” says Alexander. “It is insightful to know what it takes to keep top worker happy or get a great candidate across the line.”

For further information on hiring predictions, hiring and retention tips and business growth see the Robert Half Financial Employment Report


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