Survey shows demand for work life balance AND career progression

A new survey from Bright Horizons shows a growing demand for greater work life balance, including hybrid working, and also for career progression.

Career Progression


Employees demanding both better work-life balance and career progression is becoming the new normal, according to a new survey of leading employers.

The Work+Family Snapshot 2022, commissioned by work solutions and education provider Bright Horizons, found that 58% of employees said family has become a higher priority in the past 12 months than before, a 21% increase on last year’s results. But 31% said that their career ambitions are stronger now than a year ago, a two-fold increase on the 2021 results.

The research, with responses from more than 1,500 employees from across 186 of Bright Horizons’ clients and a broad spread of sectors, found that this dual priority trend was particularly pronounced in workers aged 18-34. In this age group, 67% said that family has become a higher priority in the past 12 months and 39% said career progression has increased in importance, with the cost of living rises likely to fuel further interest.

Changes in priorities are not the only thing on employees’ minds; more than half (53%) of respondents said that they are rethinking their overall direction and sense of purpose more than they used to. And this percentage increases the older people are. In the 55+ age bracket, 63% of employees said they’re rethinking their purpose.

When asked in an ideal world what their preference would be around hybrid working – if their job allows them to work in this way, those wanting to work from home for at least half the week had increased from 79% last year to 82% this year. A fifth (20%) would favour an even split between home and workplace and while 18% would like to work exclusively from home. Just 4% would want to be entirely workplace-based.

Respondents to the survey had a range of caring responsibilities, from childcare to eldercare, including those in the “sandwich generation” with both. The research found that breakdowns in care can not only be unexpected but also long lasting.

Two-thirds (67%) of respondents experienced a breakdown in childcare arrangements in the last year. While this is slightly lower than the 71% in last year’s survey amid lockdowns, Bright Horizons says it shows the need for short notice care arrangements for workers persists even when schools and early years settings are open. Of those experiencing these childcare breakdowns, well over half (58%) had a breakdown of five days or more. Twenty-eight per cent had a breakdown of childcare of more than 10 days.

Those with adult or eldercare responsibilities also face breakdowns in their care arrangements, with 81% saying they had experienced them in the past 12 months. Almost a quarter (24%) had had to deal with a breakdown lasting more than 10 days.

The most popular option for those facing breakdowns in care arrangements once their employer-provided back-up care days have been used was to take annual leave.

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