Work life balance becoming harder, say a third of workers

businesswoman, texting, remote working


A third of full-time workers say that managing work-life has become more difficult in the last five years, according to a global study by EY.

The online survey of close to 9,700 full-time workers at companies of varying sizes in eight countries found younger generations and parents are harder hit than others. The top drivers of work-life challenges are stagnant salaries and rising expenses, increasing hours, and more responsibilities at work and at home.

Countries where parents found it most difficult to manage work-life versus non-parents were Germany, the UK, India and the US.

The EY Global Generations survey was conducted in the US, Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India and the UK. It is the second EY has undertaken on generational issues in the workplace.

The survey foud approximately half of managers work more than 40 hours a week and four in 10 say their hours have increased in the past five years, with millennials’ and parents’ hours climbing the most.

The survey also included more detailed questions of 1,200 US millennial full-time workers. It found many are moving into management while also becoming parents and working more hours, creating the “perfect storm” for younger generations over the last five years. It also found that US men are more likely than women to change jobs or give up a promotion for work-life management reasons.

Globally parents are more likely to quit over lack of opportunities for advancement than non-parents. The survey also found nearly one in six US millennials said they had suffered a negative consequence as a result of having a flexible work schedule and 38% would “move to another country with better parental leave benefits” if they could.

Even so, after competitive pay and benefits, the top five things employees said were very important in a potential job were: “being able to work flexibly and still be on track for promotion” which was tied at 74% with “working with colleagues, including my boss, who support my efforts to work flexibly.” Other flex perks full-time employees seek are: the ability to work flexibly informally when needed, receiving paid parental leave and not working excessive overtime.

Millennials, globally, are more likely than other generations to say it is important to receive paid parental leave onsite or subsidised childcare and telecommuting 1-2 days a week. Two-thirds of full-time employees would prefer being able to relocate closer to family over reducing overnight business travel, receiving onsite or subsidised childcare, an ability shut off emails and calls when needed and telecommuting.

Finance was a key concern for many. More than one in five employees encouraged their spouse or partner to return to work and a quarter encouraged their spouse/partner not to quit or reduce hours to better manage work-life. Approximately 23% of workers decided not to have more children and one in five delayed having more kids.

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