Those working in IT and Telecoms are happier than average when it comes to their work-life balance, despite working longer hours than most, according to research carried out by specialist recruiter Randstad Technologies. A survey of 2,000 employees revealed that almost two-thirds (64%) of IT & Telecoms staff were happy with their work-life balance, well above the national average of 59%.
Those working in utilities (94%) and insurance (90%) were most happy with their work-life balance, despite those sectors having some of the longest average working weeks in the UK.
Those least happy with their work-life balance were accountants (42%) – yet accountants have a shorter average working week than the UK average.
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Randstad Technologies also compared the findings to the amount people in each sector were paid. The results suggest the amount people earn does not affect how happy they are with their work-life balance. For instance, those working in media and leisure are among the lowest paid in the UK, with average gross weekly earnings of £402.50 – yet these are some of the happiest sectors in the UK in terms of their work-life balance. By contrast, those working in financial services and accountancy earn far more than the national average, but are the least happy. IT & Telecoms is the best paid sector in the UK, yet employees are not significantly happier with their work-life balance than this figure would suggest.
Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad Technologies said, “We know work-life balance isn’t just about pay – but we know there’s more to it than just hours as well. Social workers aren’t motivated by high salaries, while employees in construction, insurance and IT all work longer hours than the national average. It appears employees in these sectors find their work particularly rewarding. It may also have a lot to do with the blending of work and personal lives. These people are passionate about their jobs and have a greater sense of integration between their professional and personal lives.”
SECTORS HIT HARDEST BY THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND AUSTERITY MEASURES
Sectors hit hardest by government austerity measures and the effects of the global financial crisis are less happy with their work-life balance – as are those working in white-hot industries. Professionals in financial services and
accountancy are feeling overstretched, as are education and nursing professionals, along with those working in the engineering and rail sectors.
Mike Beresford said, “The IT & Telecoms sector is more buoyant than many other sectors, thanks in part to the 4G licensing boom. Many companies in the sector have experienced huge levels of growth and in some cases doubled the number of staff they require. The high demand for project managers and other specialist roles means that many tech professionals can command better rates than those working in other sectors. Additionally, the vast majority of tech staff are passionate about what they do and tend to focus on the bigger picture, rather than worrying about clocking up a few extra hours in order to get a job done.”
LONGER HOURS – HIDDEN BENEFITS
The destabilising of an employee’s work-life balance as a result of the recession may have hidden benefits. People who embarked on their careers after August 2007 have developed professionally as part of very lean teams compared to those who started in the previous six. This has pushed some employees into
working longer hours but as teams have attempted to manage workloads on a
reduced workforce, high-flying junior employees have taken on the work of more
senior colleagues. They have upskilled rapidly, creating a new generation of
hyper-talented, passionate professionals. A separate market intelligence report
carried out by Randstad found that 70% of financial services professionals had
stepped up to much more demanding roles through sheer necessity. The
‘all-hands-on-deck’ mentality created during the recession meant that 73%
considered themselves to be working at a higher level than their job title
suggested, and were looking for the recognition and reward that they believed
their achievement deserved.
Mike Beresford said, “’Accelerated learning’ in small teams with stretched
staff can speed up development allowing passionate high flyers to shine and
improve their promotion prospects. A lot of the best candidates we see – the top
15% – have seen their careers progress and gather speed, having worked in
smaller, thinner, tighter teams. A new cohort is emerging in Britain’s workforce
which, thanks to the financial crisis, has excellent experience – albeit,
perhaps, at the expense of their work-life balance.”
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