Human Resource industry has greatest work-life balance

Tue, Dec 15 2015

Human Resource practitioners are taking a leaf from their own book, with the industry’s workers happiest with their work-life balance1, a recent SEEK Learning report shows.   

The SEEK Learning Defining Work-Life Balance Report, which investigates the work-life balance status of industries across Australia, reveals 71 per cent of Human Resource professionals rank their work-life balance as excellent or good, ahead of Real Estate and Property (67 per cent). Marketing and Communications appears to polarise people, with over half of employees very happy with their work-life balance, sitting alongside 17 per cent of employees who rate it as poor or terrible.   

Industries with the greatest number of workers who are unhappy with their work-life balance are Call Centres and Customer Service (19 per cent), Administration and Office Support, and those working in Procurement, Manufacturing and Transport (both 17 per cent).   

DEFINING WORK-LIFE BALANCE  

The report reveals there is not a one-size-fits all approach when defining work-life balance, and that definitions vary from person to person. When describing what work-life balance meant to them, Australian workers focussed on four different interpretations.   

Flexibility in work hours and location is cited by 34 per cent of people, and is particularly important for high-level employees and the self-employed; while work that doesn’t disrupt home life is cited by 27 per cent and is more important for women and those working part-time. The ability to timebank (23 per cent) is important for men and those working full time or in mid-management; and no overtime (15 per cent) is key for entry-level employees.  

WORK-LIFE BALANCE – OVERALL  

When looking at overall work-life balance ratings (across all definitions of work-life balance), some clear winners and losers emerge. Marketing and Communications was a particular anomaly, making both lists; with respondents sitting at each end of the spectrum.  

Who ranked their work-life balance as either excellent or good?

  • Human Resource professionals (71 per cent)
  • Real Estate and Property professionals (67 per cent)
  • Consulting and Strategy professionals (66 per cent)
  • Marketing and Communications professionals (66 per cent)
  • Insurance or Super professionals (66 per cent)  

Who ranked their work-life balance as either poor or terrible?

  • Call Centres and Customer Service professionals (19 per cent)
  • Marketing and Communications professionals (17 per cent)
  • Procurement, Manufacturing or Transport professionals (17 per cent)
  • Administration or Office Support professionals (17 per cent)
  • Design and Architecture professionals (15 per cent)  

BEST INDUSTRIES FOR WORK-LIFE BALANCE – BY DEFINITION  

Among those who define work-life balance as ‘Flexibility in hours or location’, the industries who are happiest with their work-life balance are:

  • Engineering (74 per cent happy)
  • Sales and Business Development (72 per cent happy)
  • Consulting and Strategy (72 per cent happy)  

Among those who define work-life balance as having ‘work that doesn’t disrupt my home life’, the industries who are happiest with their work-life balance are:

  • Information and Communication Technology (79 per cent happy)
  • Government or Defence (75 per cent happy)
  • Education and Training (71 per cent happy)  

Among those who define work-life balance as time-banking, or ‘accumulating hours towards personal time off’, the industries who are happiest with their work-life balance are:

  • Information and Communication Technology (71 per cent happy)
  • Farming, Animals or Conservation (68 per cent happy)
  • Engineering (68 per cent happy)  

Amongst those who define work-life balance as no overtime, or ‘working only set, agreed hours each week’, the industries who are happiest with their work-life balance are:

  • Government or defence (70 per cent happy)
  • Education and Training (53 per cent happy)
  • Healthcare or Medical (51 per cent happy)   

ACHIEVING WORK-LIFE BALANCE  

General Manager of SEEK Learning, Tony Barrett said the research demonstrates how the Australian workplace – and the needs of its workers – has evolved since the days of clocking on and off at set times.   

 “Over one in two Australians have changed jobs in search of better work-life balance during their career, with 70 per cent ultimately achieving it,” he said.  

Mr Barrett added that workers thinking about changing careers in search of work-life balance should consider the role of education in the decision making process.  

“Part of changing careers successfully is ensuring the desired industry or role offers the type of balance that is right for you. And of course, it is not as simple as just identifying the change you want to make, you also need to ensure that you have the right skills to transition to your new industry. This is where formal education can play a key role, or alternatively you may like to consider nonformal learning opportunities such as volunteering in your desired industry,” he said.  

“Understanding what matters to you, and what options are available, creates opportunities to open discussions with your employer and negotiate arrangements to achieve better work-life balance.  

“You may work in an industry where over time or shift work is inevitable, but there may be an opportunity to time-bank or work flexi-hours. Talking through these options with management could help provide better work-life balance without the need to change jobs.”   

For employers, being clear on the work-life balance options that can be offered to new and existing employees can help attract – and retain – happy, productive workers.  

Work-life balance is revealed to be an important catalyst in career change, with 92 per cent of Australians stating work-life balance would have an impact on their decision to change careers.    

For further information please contact:

Melissa Buttigieg, PR Edge, E: melissa.buttigieg@predge.com.au  P: 03 8416 6882 or 0412 567 707   

About SEEK Learning:   
SEEK Learning, has connected more than 200,000 students with career-related education over the past 10 years. SEEK Learning partners with Australia’s leading education providers to offer more than 350 courses to get students job ready. Through expert consultant advice SEEK Learning is able to assist people in achieving their career goals through further education.   

SEEK Learning is part of the SEEK Group, a diverse group of companies, comprised of a strong portfolio of online employment, educational, commercial and volunteer businesses. SEEK is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, where it is a top 50 company with a market capitalisation close to A$6 billion.   

With exposure to 2.5 billion people and over 20 per cent of global GDP, SEEK makes a positive contribution to people’s lives on a global scale.   

SEEK is also home to SEEK Volunteer and Volunteering Australia’s Go Volunteer site that have been responsible for connecting thousands of volunteers with organisations needing their help since 2000.    

1 The SEEK Learning Defining Work-Life Balance Report: Independent research by Nature on behalf of SEEK (August 2015). Nationally representative sample of 18-69 year olds.  

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