Study reveals which employees are unhappiest

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Employers may want to play closer attention to a one sub-section of their workforce after new research revealed a specific group has particularly poor job satisfaction and little to no work-life balance.

According to a study from Auckland University of Technology, young women are the unhappiest employees in the workforce with those aged between 20 and 25 years suffering the most.

Men in the same age bracket were also found to have low life satisfaction but reported considerably higher job satisfaction compared to their female counterparts as well as a good work-life balance.

Jarrod Haar, a professor of human resource management at the university, said the findings likely represent young women “getting to grips” with adult life, possibly with less money and limited assets.

However, while young women seem to have drawn the short straw, Haar says they can look forward to an improvement later in life.

"As women progress these things get better, but are still negative, until the 36-45 age group when they start reporting positive satisfaction and work-life balance," said Haar.

“The women in our sample start to flourish with women aged 56 years and above clearly being the 'winning' age group," he continued. "They are soaring! This likely represents having a good job and careers, a comfortable home life, and generally enjoying life."

Clearly, the challenge for employers seems to lie with engaging and motivating younger staff – something which an increasing number of organisations are now investing in.

Katie Williams, head of the HR centre of expertise at Vodafone New Zealand, said organisations need to understand that young people place huge worth on a positive work-life balance.

“Millennials value work/life balance and the majority of them are unwilling to commit to make their work lives an exclusive priority,” she told HRD. “[They] are largely unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life.”

Williams will be discussing the topic at the upcoming Millennial Workforce Summit in Auckland, where she will offer insight into the Vodafone policies which are particularly appealing to young people.

“Our policies are designed to allow greater flexibility for our people and allow a greater work life balance,” she said. “We support a flexible working environment and provide the digital tools so our people can work anywhere, anytime.”

More information about the Millennial Workforce Summit – due to take place in May – can be found online.

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