PwC Study: More Than One-Third of Employees Chose Work-Life Balance as Prime Objective, Over Salary

Confirming results of an earlier study, a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that employee morale and loyalty are still quite vulnerable as companies with tight budgets continue to ask over-stretched workers to do more with less.

PwC conducted the survey in early 2010, and a total of 5,746 employees from 113 countries participated. The survey results compiled in a report titled Managing Tomorrow's People: Where will you be in 2020? suggest that employees' attitudes may be changing to reflect a growing concern for work-life balance and business ethics. For example, the data showed that:

Having vastly more responsibility with a salary to match is what the biggest proportion (44 percent) want from their careers. However, over a third (36 percent) now chose better work-life balance as their prime objective, other than salary.

Other than salary, the survey found that people value flexible working arrangements the most (39 percent), followed by bonuses, paid academic training and exposure to advanced networking and social activities.

Specifically, the appetite for flexible working arrangements is greatest in Western Europe and North America (Netherlands 39 percent, Switzerland 47 percent, UK 47 percent and US 43 percent). These numbers were much higher for female respondents who placed even greater value on the opportunity for flexible working.

By contrast, employees in Latin America have by far the greatest appetite for learning and development, while the desire for exposure to networking and social activities is significantly higher in the emerging markets of Africa, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Asia Pacific. Only 9 percent of respondents globally said a good company pension plan was a prime attraction for them.

Almost half of those polled said they want to work for a company whose values match their own. Interestingly, a full one-third said that they themselves are their own ideal future employer. The remaining 20 percent said they want to work for an elite company that employs only the best.

Having a powerful social conscience intrinsic to the organization's brand and a green' sense of responsibility was seen as important by 41 percent of respondents. (This figure was as high as 55 percent in Latin America).

Swiss (57 percent) and US (57 percent) respondents were the most keen on seeing their level of responsibility and salaries rise considerably over the next 10 years. In Switzerland, 78 percent of younger respondents aged 16-25 placed this as a key aspiration.

"Companies are switching from survival mode to making preparations for growth, but they are mindful that taking on new employees could expose them to new risks at a time where more volatility is expected. Consequently, existing employees are being asked to do more with less," says Michel Rendell, PwC global head of Human Resource Services. "Our survey indicates that employees may be feeling the pressure, with large numbers of respondents hoping for better work-life balance in the future and around a third saying they would prefer to work for themselves."

TAGS: Finance
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