Work-life balance more important to women

 

Professional Irish women want careers but not at the cost of their private lives, while men believe money and work-life balance are equally important, according to international research to be released today.

The research, by management consultancy Accenture, also found the majority of men and women believe they can “have it all” in terms of career and family.

Defining Success, which surveyed more than 4,000 business people in 33 countries, found that 70 per cent of Irish women believed work-life balance was most important in terms of defining success. But 46 per cent of Irish men rated work-life balance as most important, while 46 per cent opted for money.

At the same time, the majority of men and women believed more money would make them feel more successful.

Happy women

Just over half of the women surveyed also said they were satisfied with their jobs, compared to 38 per cent last year. But men were less satisfied than last year, down from 38 per cent in 2012 to 32 per cent.

Women who were dissatisfied complained about feeling underpaid, being tired and burned out, while men said they had no opportunities for advancement or growth.

Both men and women said they worked during paid time off and on weekends. Checking emails was the main activity they undertook, yet less than 34 per cent of women and 26 per cent of men considered themselves workaholics, the report said.

While both sexes agreed technology enabled them to work smarter and be more flexible, they also said it brought work into their personal lives.

Three-quarters of women and men also said they were moderately or significantly stressed at work with the size of their workload the primary cause of that stress.

When asked to describe a good working environment, men and women both used the word “rewarding”, and after work-life balance, having good relationships with colleagues and supervisors was the most important factor for a good work environment.

Bad environment

Respondents described a bad work environment as one where their work goes unnoticed. Paula Neary, a senior executive with Accenture, said the results of the survey were consistent with what was seen on the ground: women wanted careers but not at the cost of their private lives.

“For women it is more important that they get the balance . . . they want to know that they don’t have to sacrifice it,” Ms Neary said.