SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The stresses of managing both a successful career and a healthy home life are taking a serious toll on today’s working women. An astounding 70 percent of respondents to a recent Fierce, Inc. survey cited work/life imbalance as a major cause of stress. Respondents noted that these stress levels have negatively impacted their health, including depression (34.5%), weight gain (45%) and/or loss of sleep (45%). These findings and other surprising insights are the result of a new women-only survey conducted by Fierce, Inc., leadership development and training experts.
A central component of today’s stressful lifestyle for working women is the vague notion of “Having It All.” The Fierce survey indicated that even though there is no clear-cut definition for what it means to “Have It All,” there is a pressing expectation to maintain high-functioning, fulfilling lives at both work and at home, and it’s the cause of increasing stress levels for working women. The growing importance of work/life balance – coupled with the negative impacts of higher stress levels – is resulting in one in five women leaving higher-paying jobs for lower-paying opportunities that offer better balance.
Other notable responses include:
- 48.8 percent do not believe the concept of “Having It All” is a realistic possibility.
A fulfilling relationship with a partner is the most important
attribute of “Having It All,” noted by 82.6 percent of respondents.
- Having enough personal time was the least important – 27 percent – of the available options.
Insufficient funds and/or monetary security was the primary obstacle
in the pursuit of “Having It All,” noted by 36.3 percent.
- 19.4 percent of responders claimed that they already “Have It All.”
Notions concerning proper work/life balance appear to evolve as women grow older:
- The importance of career drops, with 72 percent of women age 18-29 citing career satisfaction as the most important attribute to “Having It All,” while older women are less likely to emphasize career: 58 percent for women age 30-44, and 55.5 percent for women 45-60 years old.
- Importance of personal time drops: 32% for women 18-29 years old, to 23% for women in the 30-44 year old age range.
- The importance of children drastically increases as women enter their thirties: having children/“being a good mom” was an important attribute to only 37.5% of women in the 18-29 age range, while 64% of women age 30-44, and 51% of women age 45-60 indicated it was important.
“As a society we intuitively feel that our lives, and especially the lives of working women, are too stressful, and the data from this survey reinforces this notion,” states Halley Bock, president and CEO, Fierce, Inc. “This is becoming a critical business issue because successful leaders simply can’t optimally compete if one out of every five talented women in their organization is walking out the door because of inadequate work/life balance.”
For employers, this survey clearly indicates that forward-thinking policies regarding work/life balance are not a luxury, but a basic business need and should be instituted immediately. Policy areas to explore include telecommuting, flex time, maternity/paternity leave, PTO, and job sharing. The benefits of effectively adapting company policies to accommodate a healthier work/life balance for employees include a happier and more productive workforce, increased loyalty among staff, higher retention rates, and greater appeal for recruitment of future talent.
To learn more about our survey findings, listen to Halley Bock’s podcast with the Human Capital Institute; Having It All: The Ground Truth about Work/Life Balance. Click here.
Fierce, Inc. is an award-winning leadership development and training company that drives results for business and education by improving workplace communication. Fierce creates authentic, energizing, and rewarding connections with colleagues and customers through skillful conversations that lead to successful outcomes and measurable ROI. Tailored to any organization, Fierce principles and methods translate across the globe, ensure individual and collective success, and develop skills that are practical, easy-to-learn and can be applied immediately. Fierce’s programs have been successfully implemented at blue-chip companies, non-profits, and educational organizations worldwide, including Ernst & Young, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, CARE, and Crate & Barrel. Fierce has received numerous industry and business accolades. The company has been honored as an Inc. 500|5000 company four times, in 2011 was named to TrainingIndustry.com’s “Companies to Watch” list, and in 2011, 2012, and 2013 selected to Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in Washington lists.