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Work-life balance overtakes salary post-pandemic

Woman practising yoga at home
  • More workers said they were attracted to their current role for the work-life balance (41%) than the salary (36%). This is a switch in rankings compared to 2019, before the pandemic.
  • Almost 9 in 10 (88%) employees said workplace benefits (other than salary) improve their overall happiness.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 employees (87%) said they want to see improvements to their workplace benefits package over the next 12 months.

New research published today by Aviva, one of the UK’s leading workplace pension providers, found more workers surveyed said they were attracted to their current role for the work-life balance (41%) than the salary (36%)1.

This is a switch in rankings compared to 2019, before the pandemic, when more workers said they were attracted to the salary (41.02%), closely followed by work-life balance in second place (40.97%)2.

Of those surveyed, more male employees still said they were attracted to salary (43%) over work-life balance (34%) compared to female employees who picked work-life balance (44%) over salary (33%).

The workplace benefits package and level of pension contribution on offer both remained consistent over the three years, once again ranking 7th and 8th place as reasons for taking a current role. Once again, ahead of bonus.

Almost 9 in 10 (88%) employees said workplace benefits – other than salary - improve their overall happiness. This is up slightly from 2019 (86%).

Table 1: What did employees say attracted them to their current role?

 

2022 Ranking

2022

2019 Ranking

2019

Work life balance

1

41%

2

40.97%

Salary

2

36%

1

41.02%

Location (Inc. parking and transport links)

3

31%

3

36%

Career progression

4

24%

4

22%

People and Culture

5

19%

6

20%

Company reputation

6

18%

5

19%

Workplace benefits package (Beyond salary)

7

13%

7

13%

Level of pension contribution

8

12%

8

11%

Bonus

9

11%

9

8%

Perks (i.e., free pool table, free fruit etc)

10

8%

10

6%

Other (Please specify)

11

4%

11

5%

Laura Stewart-Smith, Head of Financial Wellbeing at Aviva: “Before the pandemic, it would have been difficult to imagine a time when employees would pick a role for the work-life balance over the salary. The pandemic seems to have shone a light on the importance of being able to juggle family-life, exercise-life, dog-life – whatever the lifestyle – with work-life. Getting this balance right for employees and employers is a tricky one but if successfully achieved it can often mean a happier and more productive workplace.”  

Improvements to workplace benefits packages

Nearly 9 in 10 employees (87%) said they want to see improvements to their workplace benefits package over the next 12 months, which is up slightly from 2019 (82%).

However, more than half (53%) of employers this year3 said they struggle to offer competitive workplace benefits to their employees, up by eleven percentage points from 2019 (42%)4. Nearly two thirds of SME employers (62%), sized between 50 and 249 employees, are finding it a challenge. As in 2019, the cost to implement the benefits was cited as the main reason (62%) why employers struggle to offer competitive workplace benefits. 

Laura Stewart-Smith, Head of Financial Wellbeing at Aviva said: “The workplace benefits package on offer and the level of employer pension contributions are clearly both still important to employees in a post-pandemic world. However, it is a tough time right now and it’s understandable that employers might be feeling like they struggle to provide a competitive package.

“Given the economic challenges, making the most of what already exists is important. Employers can only get the best return on investment if employees fully understand and utilise the benefits available to them and key to achieving this is good engagement. It is important when communicating the workplace benefits package to be sensitive to the financial challenges people might be facing in the current climate and employee case studies of those who have benefitted may be a useful tool in bringing to life what a workplace benefits package can do for other colleagues.

“Employees may be able to help improve their situation by taking-up the benefits which are on offer. It might be a surprise to some what their employer has on offer – for example, financial education seminars, salary sacrifice, higher pension contributions, low-cost loans, or childcare vouchers.”  

-ENDS-

Sources

1 Unless stated otherwise, all percentages relate to those surveyed for the research by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva which surveyed 2,173 employees (GB 16+) from 20 May to 30 May 2022. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

2 Research by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva which surveyed 2,011 employees (GB 16+) from 14 March to 19 March 2019.

3 Research by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva which surveyed 505 (GB) employers varying in sizes based on the number of employees from 23 May to 30 May 2022. The splits include businesses with 1-9 employees, businesses with 10-49 employees, 50-99 employees, 100-249 employees, 250-500 employees, and 500+ employees.

4 Research by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva which surveyed 502 (GB) employers varying in sizes based on the number of employees from 13 March to 19 March 2019. The splits include businesses with 1-9 employees, businesses with 10-49 employees, 50-99 employees, 100-249 employees, 250-500 employees, and 500+ employees.

Media Enquiries

Fiona Whytock

Retirement, Savings and Investments

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement business and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in Singapore, China and India.
  • We help our 18.5 million customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2021, we paid £30.2 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
  • Aviva is a market leader in sustainability. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030.  Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
  • Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
  • As at 30 June 2022, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £353 billion and our Solvency II shareholder capital surplus at 30 September 2022 was £8.8 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
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