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Workers across the globe ditch the career ladder for work life balance

As workers across the globe strive for the perfect work life balance, many are no longer interested in climbing the career ladder.

Randstad’s recent Workmonitor report revealed that many workers across the board are putting career progression in the back burner.

Forty-two percent of 27,000 workers across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas surveyed say that though they consider themselves ambitious, but do not have traditional career aspirations.

Around one third are not focused on progression and 55 percent are willing to stay in a role they like even if there is no room to progress or develop.

“This year’s research demonstrates that a one-size-fits-all talent policy is not sustainable. Today’s workforce know what they want and equitable, flexible workplaces are key to this,” says Richard Kennedy, Country Director of Randstad New Zealand.

“To them, ambition has become more than climbing the corporate ladder, and motivations are no longer driven by promotions. Talent are looking for like-minded partnerships where they can present their authentic selves and work with employers to improve equity in the workplace.”

With the likes of breakthrough technologies like Generative AI, workers are trying to stand out more in a competitive market, however rather than express their point of difference, workers are emphasising their understanding of technology and how they can use it to “solve real-world problems”.

When it comes to looking for jobs, 82 percent of talent consider the flexibility of working hours and 86 percent consider mental health support.

Only 42 percent are ambitious about their career.

Read more: Local SME owners work towards perfect work-life balance

Another key point for talent when looking for jobs, is the importance of an equitable workplace, with a third of Kiwi talent saying they will not accept a job if an organisation wasn’t trying to improve their diversity and equity.

This includes the gender pay gap, family leave and the desire to be in a diverse workforce.

Though many workers are not considered ambitious about progressing on the career ladder, over three quarters (77 percent) are interested in self-improvement.

In 2024, 22 percent of workers say they will quit their job if there is no opportunities for learning and developing in areas such as management, leadership and AI.

“As workers redefine the meaning of ambition and retreat from the corporate grind, organisations will have their work cut out for them. Employers need to prepare for the talent and leadership gap that’s coming their way, and the solution is to recognise and adopt the new ABC of talent management to stay ahead,” says Kennedy.

“Only by demonstrating that they truly understand workers’ ambitions, their desire for balance and the need for connection, can organisations set themselves apart as employers of choice and drive the talent agenda of tomorrow.”

Heading into 2024, the return to the office debate continues, especially at a time where the focus is shifted to a balance in work life.

Randstad’s survey reveals that 37 percent would consider quitting their job if their employer asked them to spend more time in the office, while 39 percent state that working from home is a non-negotiable.

But on the other side, 33 percent are requesting to come into the office more.

“The future of work will continue to evolve with remote work being undeniable. However, data shows that, while flexibility continues to shape workers’ priorities, it has become a highly nuanced concept that doesn’t necessarily just mean working from home. The challenge lies in ensuring productivity and maintaining organisational culture in such a dispersed environment,” Kennedy says.

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