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City workers start to see more to life than salary and status

City workers start to see more to life than salary and status

Work-life balance no longer a dirty word in City jobs

But employers’ charity works and responsible taxpaying not seen as vital

City workers are placing less emphasis on money and prestige when looking for a new job and increasingly value less tangible life-enhancing benefits offered by employers, according to a study by Empiric, the specialist City recruitment firm. 

However, the importance of firms’ wider social responsibilities, for example charity work, duty to pay a fair share of tax and energy efficiency scored very low in terms of candidates’ priorities in a potential employer. 

Work-life balance no longer a dirty word

Empiric’s findings reveal that as far as pay and conditions are concerned, only 29% chose salary as the most important criteria for choosing a new job whilst 27% said that having a good work-life balance was their main consideration. Challenging work and opportunities for career advancement were the next most important concerns. 

Politicians have long called for a change in the City’s money culture. Empiric says that these results suggest that there may now be some erosion in that culture. 

Sam Kamyar, Managing Director of Empiric, comments: “City workers have a reputation for solely being driven by money but that doesn’t reflect the reality we are seeing today. Work-life balance used to be a dirty word in the City before the credit crunch, but since then many people have re-evaluated their careers and what they want to do with their lives.”

“Although salary and benefits are clearly still very important, our findings suggest people now want more from their jobs. While City workers are still prepared to work incredibly hard in order to be successful and move quickly up the career ladder, they now seem to be becoming less inclined to sacrifice everything to a stressful, long-hours culture.” 

“City workers want to work hard and play hard,” he adds. For example, he points out that the research found that 39% think that having opportunities to travel on business is the most important “perk” of a prospective job while 33% said that having free or subsidised gym membership would be top of their list.

63% value easy commute over prestigious offices

In another surprising finding, no respondents put working in a prestigious building top of their list – instead Empiric’s research found that candidates would far rather have an easy commute into work (63% said this was most important to them) or well-designed office space.

“This is quite counter-intuitive, what with new “iconic” office buildings springing up in London all the time. It just goes to show how far the pendulum has swung away from the showy stereotype of old,” says Kamyar.

Only 10% see responsible taxpaying as vital part of employer’s CSR

However, he adds, “It’s not all touchy-feely.” For example just 10% said that responsible taxpaying was most important to them in terms of an employer’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and only 6% said that charitable donations or social welfare initiatives such as pro bono work mattered most to them. In fact, 22% said that none of the CSR objectives listed were important.


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