getting the work-life balance right

The importance of work-life balance should not be underestimated by employers. ‘Australia’s Welfare 2017’, published by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW), found that while Australians were on average working less hours than previously, we still ranked 27th out of 35 OECD countries when it comes to shorter working hours.

The ‘2018 Randstad Employer Brand Research’ found that work-life balance became the most important criterion for choosing an employer, with 54% of respondents ranking it higher than salary (52%) and job security (49%). Furthermore, for 35% of respondents, a lack of work-life balance was also one of the top five reasons for changing employment.

As illustrated by the AIHW report, an employee will report lower levels of job satisfaction and poorer mental health if their work preferences did not align with their working hours. The standard working week has changed significantly since 1971, and the eight-hour day, five-day week is no longer the norm. In fact, Australia engages more part-time workers than most on the international scale, with only the Netherlands (38%) and Switzerland (27%) employing proportionally more part-time workers than Australia.

AIHW director and CEO, Barry Sanderson, also noted that as jobs became more skilled, there was an increased demand for a more qualified workforce. “In 2016, people with higher levels of educational attainment were more likely to be employed – more than 80%  of people with a non-school qualification were employed, compared with 54% of people whose highest qualification was a Year 10 or below.” Despite this, graduates in Australia are finding it hard to secure full-time work. In 2016, around 71% of graduates were in full-time employment within 4 months of graduating, compared to 85% in 2008.

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