The Work/Life Balance May Be A Thing Of The Past, Study Suggests, Because We're All Working Pretty Much All The Time Now
If you've been trying to strike a balance between your work life and personal life, but find that work usually gets in the way, you're not suffering alone. A new study conducted by Ernst & Young published today found that one third of full-time employees say that achieving a balance between work and life has been made more challenging in the last five years alone. In addition to this depressing finding, the report also featured a whole bunch of other monotonous statistics regarding the state of our employment situation. Does anyone else think that maybe it's time we started working to live, rather than living to work?
The study surveyed over 9,000 adults from eight different countries between the ages of 18 and 67. The goal was to learn more about why people quit their jobs and what they look for when seeking employment, as well as whether or not these factors differ at all amongst generations. What they discovered was that, indeed, young people and those who have children are affected most by a lack of having a work/life balance — which, I have to say, doesn't surprise me in the least. Jobs that used to be a guarantee for generations before us often no longer even exist, thanks to a stagnant economy. Here are five highlights from the study that showcase how the work/life balance is becoming a distant memory.
1. Expenses Are Increasing While Salaries Are Not
49 percent of survey respondents said that their expenses have increased in recent years, but their salaries haven't. Minimal wage growth was also the top reason people reported for quitting their jobs. Meanwhile, 48 percent reported their responsibilities at work increasing, meaning that many are doing more work for less bank. Cash is king, as they say, and getting paid seems to also take precedence over anything else when it comes to quitting a job.
2. Flexibility Is Important
Having flexibility in your work situation was found to be a top priority, especially among Millennials. This includes paid parental leave, which over a third of respondents said they'd be willing to leave the country for. 69 percent of Millennials said they'd be likely to recommend a company that offered increased flexibility and paid parental leave, with 79 percent saying these benefits would make them a happier employee. Young people are willing to work for them too, as 80 percent said they'd be willing to work longer hours if they had increased flexibility.
3. Flex Time Is Becoming the New Norm
40 percent of Millennials said they work a 9-to-5 shift, but 34 percent said they work flexible hours based on company needs on top of their normal shift. Flex time seems to be becoming standard and having access to your inbox from virtually anywhere probably isn't helping the situation.
4. People Are Working More Hours
The 40-hour work weeks seems to be a thing of the past, as 46 percent of managers say they put in more than 40 hours per week. Additionally, 40 percent of these respondents said their hours have increased in the past five years. The U.S. ranked second out of the eight countries surveyed on long working hours, as 58 percent of domestic respondents reported working more than 40 hours per week. This is creating a huge lack of downtime and hurting the work/life balance, as 76 percent of Millennial parents who are managers said that finding time for themselves was their greatest challenge.
5. We're Burning the Candle at Both Ends
62 percent — that is, almost two-thirds — of Millennials are managers. Millennials typically start having employees who work under them between the ages of 25 and 29, when many are also becoming parents. Ernst & Young found that young people are taking on more demands at work and as parents, simultaneously. "U.S. millennials are likely taking on more responsibility — as both parents and managers — at the same time," the report said.
Raise your hand if you need a vacation!
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