What Do You Want From Work?

Achieving a good work-life balance is the Holy Grail for working parents, but what else do people want from a job?


According to a recent survey commissioned by on-demand staffing app, Coople, there are some clear differences between men and women.

Based on the views of 2,000 employed people in the UK, it found that men value salary, travel and perks more than women do.

Female workers, meanwhile, hold work/life balance, career progression and making a difference in higher regard.

What I find particularly interesting about this is that I identify much more with the female point of view.

Having worked for two charities and a quango before becoming my own boss, I think it’s clear that I’m motivated by projects that I hope will ultimately help others.

And as I quit my most recent job to work from home and spend more time with my young family, work/life balance is of the utmost importance.

Work to live has always been my mantra so pay has only ever mattered to me as a means to an end. I’ve never had ambitions to earn a certain figure – as long as I’ve been able to pay the bills, I’ve been happy. Even before starting a family.

It would be interesting to know how many of the participants in the survey have children. Becoming a parent changes people’s outlooks on what really matters after all.

Armed with the information I have though, I’m not sure whether my position on these findings says anything in particular about me as an individual. Or, indeed, about dads who have chosen to change career paths for family reasons.

I certainly don’t feel any less of a man for changing direction but wonder what other men think of dads who have done so, given the headline results.

Going back to the findings of the survey, it has to be said that there are a couple of similarities.

Both sexes reported similar statistics for the negative side of working life; just under 18% of both said that it caused arguments with their partner while just under a third of both said that they regularly worked late.

This suggests that, whether they have children or not, both men and women would welcome working arrangements that are more flexible.

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again – this simply has to be the way forward.

Life has become so much more complicated and stressful and the best way of making this more manageable is to find a middle ground that suits employers and employees alike.

What do you think? Is the male/female divide in this survey a true reflection? What matters most to you when it comes to the world or work?

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  • Guest
    John Adams Monday, 06 March 2017

    This was unexpected

    Wow, well that survey goes against both anecdotal and formal research I am familiar with. I think many men are desperate to strike a better work life balance. The fact a man's request for flexible working is 50% more likely to be turned down kinda proves this point.

  • Guest
    Andy Smith - Changesmith Coaching Thursday, 31 August 2017

    The Times They Are A'CHanging

    Thanks Tom, maybe the sample was small or skewed, but subjectively I'm with you on a personal level that work-life balance and making a difference matter. i also think that more and more men are taking that view.
    Isn't it interesting though that women favour work-life balance and making a difference - but also career progression - they, rightly, don't accept that having a helathy balance to all areas of your life, and doing work that contributes in some way to the improvement of more than ourselves, doesn't have to mean that your career hits the buffers. Quite right too.

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Guest Thursday, 14 December 2017