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CIPD report on workers choosing life over work

Work is no longer your employees’ #1 priority

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Ten years ago, half of your employee base probably thought work was their biggest priority in life. But today, things have changed.

According to a new CIPD report, just 28% of employees put their job as a number one priority. In fact, only 22% of staff and HR leaders surveyed in the UK said they would take a job that paid really well over one they really liked.

This is a relatively large shift in mindset when compared to the same survey in 2005, in which 48% of employees said work was their biggest priority in life.

Additionally, there has been a huge shift in employees’ expectations of a promotion, where only a third prefer to strive for a bump up to a senior level position, compared to having a series of jobs at the same level.

Respondents also expressed a need to gain more control over their working patterns, with 47% regularly working extra hours. The top reasons for this include workload volume (72%), to match customer demand (30%), and wanting to get a head start – for example, clearing emails on a Sunday night (21%).

RELATED READ: HR professionals would take a pay cut for more flexibility

Taking this a step further, 35% said they would like to change their working arrangements, among which a majority (43%) would most like to change the start or finish time of their day.

Presently, one in every five employees (21%) works from home at least once a week. Just under half (45%) take phone calls or respond to emails outside of working hours, with over a third choosing to stay contactable rather than being pressured to do so.

However, a lack of companies’ trust in remote-working employees remains a significant barrier to change among 22% of public sector HR leaders.

“If organisations want to get the best out of their people they have to get smarter about understanding how, when and where individuals want to work. Many businesses are out of step with employee expectations,” said Ksenia Zheltoukhova, research adviser at the CIPD.

“To meet employee expectations, organisations must question assumptions about people management practices and processes, and establish working solutions that are of value both to individuals and to the business.” 

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