It’s been three years since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. How we work looks different and continues to change. However, one shift seems here to stay: people are determined to make work fit around their lives. Heading into 2023, this attitude continues to prevail despite current economic uncertainty. 

Last year, our Workmonitor survey found that 58 percent of respondents wouldn’t accept a job if they thought it would negatively affect their work-life balance. This year, that number is up to 61 percent.

94 percent
94 percent

A clear majority of the global workforce cares deeply about the kind of job they want as well as the type of employer they want to work for. Based on this year’s data, there are two clear reasons for this ongoing commitment to flexibility and work-life balance:

they’re empowered

Our 2023 survey shows that 72 percent of respondents believe their work is an important part of their lives.  However, more people today feel empowered to find work that is meaningful, particularly younger generations. These age groups also look for opportunities with organizations whose values align with their own.

Reasons for leaving current employer
Reasons for leaving current employer

In addition, much of today’s workforce prefers a job that provides both a positive culture and opportunities for career growth. However, they also want their work to fit around their lives instead of the other way around. 

Our latest Workmonitor report shows that nearly half (48%) of respondents would resign if their job prevented them from enjoying their life. In fact, one-third have done so because a job didn’t fit in their personal life. 

Yet not all dissatisfied employees leave their jobs. An increasing number (31%) are “quiet quitting” – a newer trend where workers perform only the bare minimum in a job they don’t like. This phenomenon can negatively impact company culture and reduce employee engagement.

they’re in demand

Even as macroeconomic conditions change, unemployment remains low around the world. For this reason, talent scarcity continues to embolden the global workforce and in turn companies must find ways to meet their needs. 

In particular, the youngest generations seem to recognize their value. They have the highest expectations for their jobs and the biggest appetite for work-life balance.  According to our survey, 58 percent of workers 18 to 24 would quit a job that prevented them from enjoying their life, up from forty percent for the oldest generation (55-67).

38 percent
38 percent

This disparity shows that attitudes about work among younger age groups has shifted substantially in just a few short years, and are most likely permanent. The reason for this shift may be due to a combination of the pandemic, the digital and social sharing economy and differences in education and societal norms from older age groups.

geography variations 

Although Americans are often perceived as overworked and overstressed, our survey revealed that a high percentage (84%) believe they have a good work-life balance, higher than the global average (78%). 

When it comes to refusing to accept a job that may negatively affect that balance, Latin Americans are most insistent at 64 percent and North Americans the least (59%). Latin Americans also feel strongest about the importance of work and the need for advancement opportunities at their jobs. Conversely, Northwestern Europe felt least concerned about both. 

Worldwide, the majority (57%) feel their job gives them a sense of purpose, an important statistic for employers. With the right strategy you can continue to attract and retain great people as attitudes shift.

promoting flexibility

Overall, our data shows that work-life balance is a universal goal. For this reason, flexible policies and practices around work hours and locations, opportunities for advancement and an engaging environment can help organizations meet employee needs.

Global workers want flexibility
Global workers want flexibility

Here’s how you can respond to the desires of today’s workforce: 

create an effective value proposition

Work to create a compelling employee value proposition that aligns with their desires and beliefs. For any new initiative, plan to gather input, prioritize broad-impact actions and then measure for effectiveness. 

invest in great talent

Listen to your best people. Then work to keep them engaged and motivated through opportunities such as reskilling and upskilling that can help them meet their career goals.

align your values

For long-term retention match your values to those of your employees. Use surveys to find disparities and, if any exist, work to close the gap. Alternatively, you can aim to recruit candidates that align with your current culture. 

When you take the time to understand the needs of today’s empowered workforce – and address them – you’ll become an employer of choice. To learn more about current employee attitudes around flexibility and more, read our 2023 Workmonitor report here.