Employers and work-life balance

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Work-life balance – The big picture

The structure of the labour market in the UK has changed dramatically over the last few years and will continue to change:

  • We remain in full- or part-time education until we are older, while more of us are opting to retire at an earlier age.

  • The largest growth in labour market participation between 1990 and 2000 occurred among mothers with young children.

  • It is projected that 66% of the increase in the UK population between 2000 and 2025 will be attributable to immigration.

  • Generation Y (those born after 1978) has entered the workforce: these young workers look at an organisation’s track record on corporate social responsibility and are not afraid to negotiate flexible working terms.

The types of work we do and the nature of work itself have also changed dramatically over the past 20 years:

  • Jobs in the service sector have risen by 36% while manufacturing jobs have fallen by 39%.

  • The intensity of work has increased: average working hours are shorter but work is carried out faster. Intensification affects all countries in the EU, all industry sectors and all occupational categories.

  • Changes in technology (IT and telephony) give employers more flexibility in terms of the way they ask people to work. 80% of managers said that virtual working (also called e-working) is a key business issue, according to a 2003 Roffey Park report.

Where to next?
Making a case


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