Work/Life balance high on ICT employment priorities

Good employers key to job satisfaction in the ICT industry say recruiters

Australian ICT employees are well on their way to achieving a balance between work and social life, according to a survey conducted by one recruitment firm, with the majority of employees noting a flexible employer is key.

Conducted by Hays Recruitment, the survey looked at 1400 employees, 45.8 per cent of which said work/life balance is attainable with flexible work arrangements.

The survey found 36.6 per cent of employees think a work/life balance is in reach, but claim it’s up to them to make it happen. Some 17.5 per cent don’t think it’s attainable at all.

Hays Information Technology regional director, Peter Noblet, said the survey indicated most Australians believe the balance between work and life is attainable provided they find the right employer or “take matters into their own hands”.

“This is good news for job seekers because the recent conversations we’ve had with them shows that work/life balance has shot up their priority list,” Noblet said in a statement. “It’s replaced job security now that we’re seeing such strong jobs numbers.”

“The most common work/life balance approaches we see are compressed working weeks and part-time work,” he said. “Job sharing and working from home are also becoming more common.”

According to Noblet, the main reasons employees are seeking flexible working options are to have more personal time to deal with caring for children or elderly family members.

“Meanwhile, the employers we speak to that have practical and flexible working options in place often say productivity has increased and staff retention and loyalty have improved because their employees’ work/life balance is better,” he said. “Employers that offer flexible working options to support their employees also gain a good reputation in their industry.”

A spokesperson from IBM told Computerworld Australia that a flexible workplace culture is “vital” for employees in order to balance their work and personal needs.

IBM's efforts include the ability to work from home and compressed or flexible work weeks where a role allows, as well as part-time work and job sharing.

Google has also introduced some flexibility for its employees "designed to give people time back in their lives".

The search giant offers on-site meals for employees and also allow video chat for employees to keep in touch if they're at home looking look after a sick child.

"Many of our employees work at times convenient to them," a Google spokespoerson told Computerworld Australia."We provide commercial gym subsidies for all our staff and work hard to make being healthy a real option for our staff."

In addition, Noblet says providing flexible arrangements could mean the difference between retaining or losing staff at a time when employers need them to stay most and that the arrangements must suit the employee.

“A one-size fits-all approach will not work,” he said.

“It’s important for employers to speak to their staff about the options that will allow them to achieve the desired work/life balance.”