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Working shorter hours does not necessarily make people happier with their work/life balance, according to research carried out by recruiter Randstad. Taking into consideration working hours, salaries, and contract type Randstad reports that 59% of English workers are happy with their work/life balance.
“Work/life balance has become something of a national concern in the current economic climate, as many people are under increasing pressure in both their professional and personal lives. But this research proves that the key to better balance is not simply to work shorter hours or earn more cash. A more holistic approach is needed to find rewarding work that interests and engages us. It’s not simply about putting up with anything in return for more money or time,” said Mark Bull, managing director of Randstad UK.
The average number of hours worked throughout England is 37 hours and 40 minutes with median weekly earnings of £505.90. On average 59% of employees responded that they were happy with their work/life balance.
Overall, Tthe North proved to be the happiest region with Yorkshire & Humberside, North East, and North West, responding 64%, 63%, and 62% respectively. However, the South East ranked highly with 64% of respondents happy with their work/life balance helped by the fact that median earnings were relatively high. Median earnings in the South East equated to £536.60 per week, working an average of 37 hours and 47 minutes.
Despite working the longest hours (38 hours and 24 minutes), 61% Londoners were happy with their work/life balance. Working on average only 3 minutes less per week, only 51% employees in the East of England responded that they were happy. The difference in the median weekly salary between the two regions is substantial; £652.80 in London and £495.20 in East England.
Employment sector also played an important role in perceived work/life balance happiness. Those working in Utilities and Insurance responded most positively, with 94% and 90% respectively well above the national average of 59%. Workers in Financial Services and Accountancy were least happy, with 47% and 42% respectively.
Mark Bull said, “We know work/life balance isn’t just about pay – but we know there’s more to it than just hours as well. Social workers aren’t motivated by high salaries, while employees in construction, insurance, and IT all work longer hours than the national average. It appears employees in these sectors find their work particularly rewarding. It may also have a lot to do with the blending of work and personal lives. These people are passionate about their jobs and have a greater sense of integration between their professional and personal lives.”