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Work Life Balance - generation gap

Less than half of senior executives rank work/life balance as a high priority, a survey has found.

Despite experts’ predictions that many people will now live to 100 and work well into our eighties, the survey by London Business School found that less than half (40%) of senior executives rank work/life balance as a high priority when considering their development for the next three to five years.

This is in direct contrast to the priorities of their Generation Y employees who put work/life balance at the top of the priority list leaving promotion prospects in third place behind organisational culture.

Experts suggest one explanation for the gap is that first-time general managers are most at risk of burn-out.

Richard Jolly, Adjunct Professor of Organisational Behaviour who teaches on London Business School’s ‘Transitioning to General Management’ and ‘Leading Change’ programmes for executives, explains why the first general management role is so tough: “It’s what we call the ‘Double Crunch’. At this stage many people are starting families and first general management jobs at the same time. The demands from work and personal life have never been greater.

Jolly argues, there are two reasons for senior management to take a closer look at the way the complexities of work and personal life are handled in their companies.

“The western demographic ‘time bomb’, where a shrinking pool of talent is going to be fought over by companies, provides a real future challenge. If senior executives fail to create the sort of environment our Gen-Y talent wants to work in, they will neither attract nor retain the brightest and the best, and company performance will start to suffer”