Work / Life Balance Top Priority
78% of Australians believe having a healthy work/life balance is more important to them now than it was six months ago, and 77% say they intend to achieve a better work/life balance in 2002, according to a recent survey of 5,000 people.
Low salary earners especially said it is more important to them now, with 86% of those earning less than A$20,000 reporting that the importance of a healthy work/life balance had increased significantly, while a similar percentage of CEO's, Directors and GMs said they would actively be seeking a better work/life balance in the next six months.
What can organisations do?
You can only do what is right for your organisation in terms of bottom line, culture, the nature of your workforce and the industry you’re in. It's important to listen to what people feel they need. But that does not mean that a business can run at it only in a magnanimous way whereby you say 'the staff want therefore we give' - there has to be a balance, a believed return and trade-off.
Talk to your staff - ask Questions and Listen - i.e. What do you like about working at .........? What don't you like about working at .......? What would be of benefit to you in the next review / enterprise agreement, etc?
Keep abreast of workplace trends, checking what similar organisations are doing, accessing valuable information resources and tailoring to your own needs, taking into account what the organisation has the capacity to give and knowing what it wants/needs in return. It is wise not to lose track of economic reality. Think about costs, but also cost-effectiveness in a broader way than just dollars and cents up front.
"It's not just about money, it's also about thinking about what value you put on loyalty and commitment, and not having to keep employing or training someone for the same position over and over again because of constant staff turnover."
The goal is the retention of staff with valued knowledge and skills.
*Human Resources magazine pg 6 - November 2001
Unemployment up 7 per cent
Employment Minister Tony Abbott said today trend employment was at its highest level ever despite new figures showing the jobless rate jumped to seven per cent in January. Mr Abbott said the seasonally adjusted figures were volatile and could be influenced by changing seasonal employment patterns.
"In trend terms, employment has been increasing since December 2000 and is at the highest level ever recorded," he said in a statement.
But economists were today reassessing the jobs market after both employment numbers and the unemployment rate rose much higher than expected.The official unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, rose to 7.0 per cent for January from December's 6.7 per cent, according to the labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Economists had expected it to rise to about 6.9 per cent. Much more surprising was a surge in jobs numbers ten times that expected, with the number of workers up by 101,800 to 9.280 million, adjusted - well beyond the predicted increase of about 10,000.The rise in both employment and unemployment was explained by a rise in the overall workforce participation rate in Australia - up to 64.2 per cent from 63.4 per cent.
Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe said his reaction to the data was "wow". He said there had been an "unbelievably" large rise in employment. "Clearly the broader market is not as strong as those jobs numbers suggest, nor is it as weak as the unemployment rate suggests," Mr Blythe said. "We're on track for modest growth in employment." Analysts had previously predicted the unemployment rate to rise to the low seven's before dropping back by the middle of the year. But Mr Blythe said they might have to rethink that timing, with a fall in the rate now likely to come sooner. "It's a pretty safe bet that it will," he said.
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