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Could work/life balance become more important than pay?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author:by Emma Hawker

With a cost of living crisis in full swing, private and public sector industrial action for better pay across the UK, and inflation outpacing salary rises massively, it’s hard to imagine that anything would be more important than pay in these turbulent economic times.

However, recent research has highlighted that people have a growing desire for a better work/life balance – which could be music to the ears of those organisations that aren’t able to increase salaries across the board.

In a recent report by Hays, 56% of employees were willing to accept a lower-paid job in exchange for a better work/life balance, with 33% considering it to be the most “crucial consideration” when looking for a job – giving employers food for thought when thinking of overall package.


Why has work/life balance become more important?

Post-pandemic, many people are suffering work fatigue, taking stock and perhaps seeking more purpose in their life. It’s likely that if the economic climate were better, more people would be seeking a better work/life balance. So, is now the time for organisations to re-evaluate their culture to accommodate this need?

At the CIPD, they state that good work:

·       is fairly rewarded and gives people the means to securely make a living

·       allows for work/life balance 

·       gives opportunities to develop and ideally a sense of fulfilment 

·       provides a supportive environment with constructive relationships 

·       gives employees the voice and choice they need to shape their working lives

·       is physically and mentally healthy for people.

So, why would people choose balance over pay?

With many people finding it hard to switch off from work (particularly if they’re hybrid working), feeling like they’re ‘always on’, it’s clear there’s a link between creating a healthy/happy home lifeand being more engaged and productive at work.

That’s not to say that there’s an exchange to be made, lower pay shouldn’t be the price for a good work/life balance. Conversely, higher pay shouldn’t be at the cost of employee wellbeing. Supporting employees, in the current competitive candidate market should become the norm, based on the individual’s personal preference.


How do you know what’s right for your organisation?

Ask your staff and your potential staff (and any recruiters you’re working with) for feedback on what people actually want. Engaged employees bring obvious benefits to business, not least in terms of reduced attrition.

Simple steps like ensuring people take a lunch break, that they take all of their annual leave and that their workload and the deadlines they’re working to are realistic. There may not be ‘one size fits all’ approach but by starting the dialogue with your teams, you can address individual circumstances and develop an organisational approach that works and get ahead of your competitors in the hiring market.


Allen & York have been matching purposeful people with purpose-led organisations for 30 years. If you’re looking to hire, get in touch today to find out how we can help you make your next great hire. Call +44(0)1202 888986 or email: to speak with one of the team.