From education to employment

UK employees want greater work-life balance but employers are missing the mark


New research from Lenovo and Cebr finds work-life balance is now the biggest priority for employees, significantly growing in importance over the last 10 years

Key findings:

  • Many employees (66%) feel that work-life balance is crucial in their decision to apply for a job, but a third (31%) do not receive one
  • Employees are increasingly concerned about environmental sustainability and supporting mental health
  • In businesses that do not currently offer remote work, most employees (83%) feel that this will not change in the next two years

London, March 16, 2022 – Two-thirds of UK employees (66%) feel that work-life balance is crucial in their decision to apply for a job, yet a third (31%) do not currently receive one, according to new research from Lenovo and Cebr.

With over 2,000 UK employees surveyed, Lenovo’s “Future of You” report sheds light on the priorities for workers, tracking how these have changed in recent years as well as looking ahead to the future. It found that the offer of remote work is important to over half (54%) of workers today, compared to one-fifth (21%) ten years ago. Of those who are not currently offered remote work, most (83%) feel that their employer is not on track to deliver this in the next two years.

What employees expect from employers

The importance of work-life balance has risen sharply. It was ranked as the eighth most important characteristic for workers ten years ago. It is now the most important factor for employees (95%). This is closely followed by job security (94%). Salary is naturally also a huge focus point for employees but nearly half (41%) do not perceive their salary to be competitive.

Employees are also increasingly interested in purpose as well as profit. Working for a firm that places a focus on environmental sustainability has doubled in importance from ten years ago (27%) to today (54%). Employees also want to work for an organisation that has a focus on supporting mental health. Ten years ago, this was important to a third (30%) of employees compared to nearly two-thirds (62%) today.

While career progression is important across the board, there is a clear generational divide. Most Gen Z workers (90%) find career progression important, compared to over half of older workers (60%). Expected career paths also vary between generations. Baby boomers expected to work for their first employer for 12 years when kicking off their careers, compared to just three years for Gen Z.

Innovation for the future 

Technology has increasingly been relied on during the pandemic and that looks set to increase. A majority (70%) of workers feel that technological advances will have a positive impact on their industry, with a higher share amongst Gen Z (81%) compared to baby boomers (63%).

Over a third (36%) of workers who said that technology is important, believe that it would significantly benefit their career if they trained to use certain technologies. Some (8%) of these workers even said that they are at risk of losing their job if they do not retrain.

Neil Sawyer, General Manager, Lenovo UK and Ireland, said: “This report shows that there are clear gaps in what employees want vs. what employers are offering. Organisations need to focus on adjusting to accommodate for the ways their staff want to work now and in the future. Businesses that want to secure long-term success would benefit from helping employees balance their work and personal commitments while demonstrating that they are purposeful. This will enable businesses to remain competitive in a changing world, maintain employee satisfaction and attract top talent.”

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