SMH: Work-life balance more important than money, survey

Monday 1 July, 2013
SMH June 26, 2013 BY Kate Jones Image Genevieve George has work-life balance
Image source: OneShift It's something often spoken about, but rarely achieved. Work-life balance '“ that perfect combination of career, family and individual time. Now work-life balance is more than just an aspiration. It's a must-have employment condition workers are demanding over attractive pay packets. A survey by recruitment business OneShift found 45 per cent of respondents ranked work-life balance as the number one priority for any job. This compared to 20 per cent who said remuneration was the top priority and 26 per cent who said contribution to career development was crucial. The desire to work flexible hours to accommodate a busy personal life even comes before having a stable job, the survey results showed. Of the 1500 people surveyed, 69 per cent said they would trade the security of full-time employment for a job with flexible work hours. Some respondents even admitted resigning from jobs that couldn't offer flexibility. Poor work-life balance forced seven per cent to throw in the towel and horrible bosses claimed the jobs of 8 per cent. OneShift managing director Gen George, said the survey's results revealed today's workforce were shunning the traditional nine to five jobs in favour of shift work, job sharing, contract and part-time work. 'There is an emerging shift towards prioritising work-life balance,'? she said. 'Being able to have the power of choice and have flexibility is so important.'? Nowhere is this shift more prominent than in the Gen Y demographic, said George, 22. She says fewer Gen Ys are sticking with the ideal of buying a house and staying there until it's paid off. 'They're in love with the idea of jumping on a plane to live and work anywhere they like. 'It's all about getting out there and seeing new things.'? George launched OneShift last in June 2012 after postponing university to live and work in Europe for eight months. She hatched the idea for the business while waiting for a month to start a job working on a boat in the south of France. Frustrated at the lack of shiftwork sites for casual workers, George decided to set up a similar site when she returned home. The budding entrepreneur began by advertising to Sydney uni students and quickly attracted a gathering of hospitality and promotional workers who were snapped up by local nightclubs. Today OneShift has grown to include retail, administrative, finance and health workers all looking for flexible work options. George said the online job matching platform is favoured by uni students, travellers, mums returning to work and people looking to supplement their full-time incomes. Among the more unusual job hunters is an 83-year-old woman with qualifications in aged care and a policeman looking for retail work to help him save for his upcoming wedding. Powered by a staff of 35, OneShift has accumulated 172,000 users in Australia with almost 1000 new job-seekers signing up each day. As you would expect of a site founded by a Gen Y entrepreneur, OneShift allows those looking for work to upload video résumés and features instant messaging. Patrick Aboud, owner of personal training business Lifenergy, says the site's technology has saved him arranging interviews with every potential candidate. 'Appearance is very important in personal training,'? he said. 'You have to look fit otherwise it's like asking a bricklayer for stockbroking advice.'? OneShift's survey also found 70 per cent of job-seekers prefer applying for employment through online job postings by the employer rather than through a recruitment agent. George says this indicated traditional recruitment methods such as recruitment agents and online job boards such as Seek could be turning talented workers off. OneShift is free for job-hunters, but employers are charged $10 to contact one job candidate or $45 to contact five. George says she now has her sights set on setting up OneShift in New Zealand and south-east Asia. To further cater for the workforce's demands for flexible hours, she is also hoping to integrate a 12-month calendar into each job-seeker's profile so they can block out any days or weeks they may be unavailable.
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