Workers struggle with mental health, work-life balance

Survey shows many looking for pay raise in next 12 months

Workers struggle with mental health, work-life balance

Whether you call it the ‘great resignation’ or the ‘great reckoning’, what’s happening today points to one thing: the need for employers to step up, finds a new survey.

While 90 per cent of workers globally are satisfied in their current employment, 41 per cent of them are only “somewhat satisfied,” according to a report from ADP Research Institute.

Also, 71 per cent say they have considered a major career move this year, and 23 per cent are actively trying to change their job or move to a “future proof” industry where they see a longer-term demand for their skills, the best career development prospects and strongest earning potential.

“The pandemic signaled a paradigm shift as today’s workers re-evaluate the presence of work in their lives, and the stakes have never been higher for employers,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP.

Pay issues

Workers put pay (63 per cent) atop the list of the most important things in employment these days, with 76 per cent saying they are prepared to ask for a salary increase if they feel they deserve it. And 61 per cent expect to get a raise within the next 12 months while 43 per cent expect a promotion within the same timeframe.

Over three-quarters (76 per cent) would consider looking for a new job if they discovered their company had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.

Over two in five workers say raises are needed to address staff turnover, but fewer than one in five employers agree, according to a separate survey.

Mental health concerns

Also, a huge majority of parents (74 per cent) and non-parents (68 per cent) alike are looking for flexibility and work-life balance. And now, more than half (53 per cent) of workers believe their work is suffering because of poor mental health, finds the survey of more than 32,000 workers from 17 countries.

This is likely brought about by stress: 67 per cent of workers experience stress at least once a week during the pandemic, a jump from 62 per cent pre-pandemic, according to the report. And 15 per cent feel stressed every day.

Key sources of stress include the length of the working day (28 per cent), problems with technology (26 per cent) and concerns over job security (25 per cent), according to ADP.

More than one-quarter (28 per cent) of Canadians have trouble disconnecting after regular work hours, according to a separate study.

The good thing is that 70 per cent of workers feel supported by their managers when it comes to mental health at work, and 75 per feel supported by their colleagues.

The Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) is calling on all Canadian companies to provide at least $1,500 for employees’ mental health benefits.

Work flexibility

However, 64 per cent of the workforce would consider looking for a new job if they were required to return to the office full time. And 52 per cent are willing to take a pay cut if it means they will have the flexibility to work hybrid.

There’s a lot to like about work from home, according to the ADP report. For example, those with that ability are more optimistic about the next five years (89 per cent, compared with 77 per cent of in-office workers) and more satisfied with their employment (90 per cent, compared with 82 per cent for in-office workers).

Nearly half (46 per cent) believe working from home has made it easier to be a working parent.

However, 25 per cent say that setup has made it harder. And remote workers are more likely to feel their work is suffering due to poor mental health compared with their colleagues in the workplace (55 per cent versus 36 per cent).

“Our research highlights the extent to which employees’ views of work changed, now prioritizing a wider and deeper range of factors that are more personal in nature. With recruitment and retention among the most business-critical issues, these revelations offer both a challenge and an opportunity for employers as they seek to keep workers engaged and fulfilled,” says Richardson.

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