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UK workers say work-life balance tops salary

Work-life balance is more important than salary for 65 percent of workers surveyed by specialist recruiter Randstad.


Randstad asked over 9,000 UK respondents what the five most important drivers were when it came to choosing an employer, after work-life balance, followed: attractive salary and benefits (64 percent) and job security (61 percent), good training (58 percent) and pleasant work atmosphere (55 percent).


When splitting respondents into blue and white collar groups, 59 percent of blue collar workers consider work-life balance as the most important driver, compared to 68 percent of white collar workers.


The 2021 survey also found that a desire for a better work-life balance grows with age, with 70 percent of 55-64 year olds prioritising it compared to just 59 percent of 18-24 year olds.


Randstad UK chief executive Victoria Short said: “In some respects, the profound changes in many people’s jobs has clearly brought the benefits of flexible working to the surface. Our data suggests there are two groups of workers who want to see a more balanced lifestyle here.


“For many, remote working has increased the number of hours they are connected to their employers, reflecting the need for a better lifestyle balance. At the same time, some have benefited from working at home by being able to carry out tasks or juggle personal responsibilities around a more flexible work schedule.


“Interestingly, our findings revealed a stronger appetite for a better work-life balance in the UK compared to the rest of Europe. Overseas, an attractive salary and benefits package still holds the top spot in terms of the most important aspect when choosing an employer. For me, that suggests some lessons to be learned from the UK around promoting flexible working patterns.


What workers want versus what’s on offer from employers

Looking at the general perception of what employers across the UK offer as a whole, work-life balance is less of a priority, highlighting an oversight of the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.


Short said: “Understanding the gap between what employees want and what they think employers offer provides valuable insight into building a strong employer brand. Benchmarking against what employees perceive being offered by their current employer gives more context to the gaps that need to be bridged in order to create a credible name and the ability to attract the UK’s most sought-after talent.


In order to gain credibility in a market where we are slowly seeing candidates regain control and confidence, business leaders must be proactive in listening to the opinions of workers, and ensuring that they are actively encouraged to share their voice via the relevant channels.”

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