2006 BlueSteps Work-Life Balance Report

87% of executives feel that work-life balance considerations are critical in their career decision making process

Nearly Half of Executives Surveyed Reported Work-Life Balance has Worsened in the Last Five Years,
Reflecting a Widening Value Gap Between Employers and Employees.


A survey of 1,311 senior executive BlueSteps Members in 2006 revealed that 87% felt that work-life balance considerations were critical in their decision whether to join, or remain with, an employer.

Aileen Taylor, AESC member and Managing Director of Eric Salmon & Partners Limited, commented, “A relatively recent phenomenon is the decision by candidates with excellent upward mobility in the major FMCG companies to look for prospective employment in companies where the sheer number of hours worked and location mobility are not the key determinants to upward progression.

Given the time and money spent on developing these high caliber individuals, this must be a false economy. Particularly in the marketing field, these individuals feel they cannot continue to give their best work under these extended hours regimes. For the first time in twenty plus years in the personal care market place, I am seeing candidates prepared to down-size both their salaries and their prospects within large organisations in favour of quality of life.”

Key findings of the survey revealed:


  • 53% have not achieved a satisfactory work-life balance
  • 46% said their work-life balance has changed for the worse in the past 5 years
  • 59% indicated that new technologies, such as the BlackBerry and mobile phone, had negatively impacted their leisure time
  • 56% stated they would strongly consider refusing a promotion if it negatively affected their work-life balance
  • 50% have considered taking a sabbatical; however 83% said their companies did not allow sabbaticals

“This should be a wake-up call to every employer. The value gap between executives and employers is widening. Nearly half of the respondents are aware and concerned with the fact that their work-life balance has changed for the worse in the last five years,” noted Peter Felix, President of the Association of Executive Search Consultants.

 “Top senior executives are hard to come by, and this survey suggests that executives are beginning to carefully measure the cost of their personal lives against the value of their professional goals. The balance of power between employers and senior executives has shifted with the executive now in the driver’s seat. Employers need to be more creative and nimble in today’s market and some negotiating tactics may include being more sensitive to candidate work-life balance needs. If employers do not listen, their competitors surely will.”

About BlueSteps

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.

About The Association of Executive Search Consultants

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is the worldwide professional association for the retained executive search industry. The AESC promotes the highest professional standards in retained executive search consulting, broadens public understanding of the executive search process, and serves as an advocate for the interests of its member firms. For more information, or to download the AESC Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, please visit www.aesc.org.


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