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Work-life balance is becoming more important than career progression, according to new research from Randstad. After surveying 27,000 workers across Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas, Randstad found that nearly half (47%) aren’t focused on advancing their career. The same percentage said they’d stay in a job they like, even without the space to develop or move up, and 34% of respondents don’t aspire to reach the managerial level. 

Respondents also ranked career ambition (70%) as less important than work-life balance (93%), flexible working hours (81%), and mental health support (83%). This doesn’t mean that employees don’t want to learn new skills, however. Most (72%) said training and development opportunities are important, and 29% would quit a job if they weren’t provided with opportunities to future-proof their skills.

Other employee priorities include:

  • An equitable workplace: Many surveyed employees said they wouldn’t accept a job if they disagreed with the leadership’s viewpoints (38%) or if the company wasn’t proactive about improving its diversity and equity (37%). One in five (21%) said they’ve quit a job because their employer failed to take action on an issue they felt was important.
  • Spending less time in the office: Although 35% of employees have been asked to come into the office more than they were six months prior, many respondents would prefer to stay home. Because they assumed they’d be working from home long-term, many respondents (37%) made changes like moving to a new home or adopting a pet. So it’s not surprising that almost 40% of survey participants said working from home is non-negotiable, and 37% would consider quitting if their employer asked them to be in the office more.
  • A sense of belonging: Almost 30% of surveyed employees feel that their generation is misunderstood (40% for Gen Z), more than half (55%) feel like they should hide aspects of themselves while at work, and 26% aren’t comfortable sharing personal viewpoints. However, although 37% said they’d leave a job if they felt like they didn’t belong, this percentage is down from 54% in 2023.
  • A supportive boss: A third of employees (33%) said their employer doesn’t talk to them about their career progression at all, and 40% would like to have such discussions at least once per quarter. 

However, job security fears may stop employees from changing jobs this year — more survey respondents (45%) said they were worried about losing their job in 2024 than last year (37%).