Article Library

Work/Life Balance. Achievable Target or Impossible Dream?

18 January 2010 | Susan Wareham McGrath | No Comments

My thoughts reflect the recently-released results of a global survey of women conducted by international management consulting firm, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The BCG's survey was the largest global survey of its type, with over 12,000 respondents in 22 countries responding to a battery of 120 questions - and 10,000 pages compiled of verbatim responses to the open-ended questions which formed part of the survey.
According to BCG, no matter where they live, women are over-worked, over-extended, over-stressed and under-served by businesses.
In addition, the survey results indicated that women want time leverage, more value and suppliers that specifically understand them.

BCG reported that 45 per cent of respondents said they didn't have enough time for themselves and 38 per cent said conflicting priorities caused stress.

"High standards and expectations of themselves, plus responsibilities for nutrition, education, home hygiene, clothing and healthcare are the primary sources of stress. Life is a pressure cooker for women. It's a case of high expectations, high demands and few agents of relief", according to BCG senior partner Michael J Silverstein.

BCG found money issues were another major stressor amongst respondents, with 48 per cent reporting that they felt pressure related to managing household finances, 81 per cent feeling that they were not saving enough for retirement, 73 per cent concerned they don't consistently save and 41 per cent saving less than they'd like.

AWALI - women's work-life interference worsening significantly

Closer to home, the work/life balance issue was further explored though the third Australian Work and Life Index (AWALI) survey of work-life interference in Australia, undertaken in March this year.

When statistically controlled for differences in working hours, this year's AWALI survey found that while men's work-life interference has not changed over the past three years, women's has worsened significantly. Women are much more likely than men to feel rushed and pressed for time, and these feelings of time pressure appear to be becoming more common for women.

The 2009 survey also found that two thirds of full-time working women are reporting that they are often or almost always rushed or pressed for time. And this pressure isn't only felt by full time workers, with 58 per cent of part-time working women sharing this pressure.

AWALI's findings also indicated that when controlling for the differences in work hours, employees and those in non-professional and non-managerial occupations report better work-life interference than the self-employed and those in other occupations. AWALI also reports that for the women, the economic slowdown has become associated with worse work/life interference, especially for those in full-time work.

 


Resumes That Get Results - On-Demand Webinar

Social Media Engagement

New research shows that recruiters take, on average, less than six seconds to decide whether to retain or cull job applications.

Resumés that Get Results - Beating the 6 Second Barrier show how to tailor your resumé to get great results.

Learn more about the webinar, here.

 
 

 


Susan Wareham McGrath

Author

Susan Wareham McGrath

Susan Wareham McGrath

Susan Wareham McGrath is the founder and principal of Career Ignition, an Australian career strategy and communication firm specialising in the development of career portfolios, branding strategies and online positioning for directors, executives and se...


Read more about Susan Wareham McGrath

More by Susan Wareham McGrath

See all by Susan Wareham McGrath

Makeover Your Résumé to Pass the 6-Second Test

Are you experienced and qualified, but getting nowhere with your job search? It might be time for a résumé makeover! Recent research from online job matching firm The Ladders found that recruiters only spend 6 seconds on average reading individual résumés. While other reports suggest that recruiters spend a little longer – up to 30 seconds – [...]

Read More

Stay on Track With Your Business Vision

According to the Australian Government's Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2008-09, the global financial crisis has not only entered a new and dangerous phase, but we are currently experiencing the most significant upheaval in global financial markets since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, in its publication Business Outlook, December 2008, leading economic forecaster Access Economics [...]

Read More

The New Norma Project - Life First, Work Second

After struggling with many work/life balance issues themselves, Jayne and Valerie established the NewNorma Project to examine how work/life balance can become a reality for any woman running her own business. Through the NewNorma Project, Jayne and Valerie delved into many variables concerning female business owners' experience of work/life balance. Their research involved seeking the [...]

Read More

Mature Age Workers - A Key to Business Success

My friend, Patricia, has a problem. She is articulate, intelligent, immaculately dressed and groomed and holds a senior management position in a large organisation in which she has built a successful, high profile, career since the early 1990s. She represents the organisation overseas and interstate, is frequently called upon to fill in for her directors [...]

Read More

Women's Wealth Survey

63% of participants in our recent Wealth Plan survey indicated that they have a financial plan. The most popular wealth strategies included business (74%), savings (52%) and investment property (48%). Despite participants' reliance on business as their overall primary wealth strategy, 88% indicated that a lack of financial and/or business education was a barrier to [...]

Read More

Women on Australian Boards - Going, Going, Gone?

Compared with Norway, where the Government has mandated that listed company boards have a composition of at least 40 per cent women, the number of female directors on ASX 200 company boards is less than impressive, at just 8.3 per cent. And in what is hopefully not an indicator of future trends, the figure has [...]

Read More

Older Workers are Good for Business

It cites a 2006 ABS survey, which found that mature workers were also the least likely group to take days off due to their own illness or as a carer. In the two week period prior to the survey nearly half the number of mature workers had days off, compared to workers aged 25-34. ABS [...]

Read More

Government Support for Small Business

The EMDG Scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program which supports exporters of a wide range of industry sectors and products, including the export of intellectual property and know-how. For further information about your eligibility, or assistance in completing your application, visit www.austrade.gov.au. R&D Tax Concession is a broad-based, market driven tax concession [...]

Read More

Tips to Keep Your Cash Flowing

Consider your pricing method, discounts and allowances, price elasticity and break-even analyses at various prices. Most crucially, keep that cash flowing! There is absolutely no point in having large amounts of YOUR money held by slow paying debtors, or in stockpiling inventory that isn't moving. There are many strategies you can implement to give your [...]

Read More

Centred Leadership: How Talented Women Thrive

In 2004, international management consultancy McKinsey and Company commenced its McKinsey Leadership Project; to learn what drives and sustains successful female leaders. This article is based on McKinsey's project report, CENTRED LEADERSHIP: How talented women thrive, published in September 2008. I chose to write about the McKinsey Leadership Project for this leadership-themed edition of the [...]

Read More

Related Content