Gone are the days when the only thing people looked for in a job was a large paycheck. These days, one of the main selling points of a job is a great ‘work life balance’. The concept of working to live, not living to work, has struck a chord with many people and the quality time they spend away from work can be a deciding factor in which industry they venture into. But it’s not just about the amount of hours worked, a variety of factors can determine whether someone feels like their work life and personal life are truly balanced.

A new survey by Budget Direct Travel Insurance has revealed which industries are most satisfied with their work life balance in Australia. The survey had a sample size of 1,000 employees, weighted to be representative of the Australian workforce for adults aged 18+. For example, 80 (8%) of those surveyed said they worked in education, in line with the 8.3% of total Australian employees who work in education and training, according to the ABS in February 2018.1

We questioned employees across ten different industries and delved into their attitudes and practices when it came to balancing their work responsibilities and their personal lives. Here’s what they had to say:

Worked on their last holiday

Rank Industry % Worked last holiday
#1 Education 67.5%
#2 IT 65.2%
#3 Design 64.7%
#4 Sales 58.5%
#5 Hospitality 56.9%
#6 Finance 56.9%
#7 Office 52.3%
#8 Construction/Trade 52.3%
#9 Government 43.5%
#10 Healthcare 36.4%

Felt restricted by work commitments for when they could take their leave

Rank Industry % That felt restricted
#1 Finance 60.3%
#2 Design 58.8%
#3 Office 58.6%
#4 Sales 56.4%
#5 Healthcare 55.7%
#6 Construction/Trade 53.8%
#7 Hospitality 53.4%
#8 IT 53%
#9 Education 51.3%
#10 Government 46.4%

Happy with the amount of paid leave

Rank Industry % Happy with the amount of leave
#1 Design 52.9%
#2 IT 48.5%
#3 Hospitality 48.3%
#4 Office 47.1%
#5 Construction/Trade 46.2%
#6 Sales 40.4%
#7 Education 36.3%
#8 Finance 36.2%
#9 Healthcare 31.8%
#10 Government 27.5%

Took all of their paid hoildays

Rank Industry % That took all of their paid leave
#1 Finance 62.1%
#2 Education 60%
#3 Sales 55.3%
#4 Government 53.6%
#5 Design 52.9%
#6 IT 51.5%
#7 Office 46%
#8 Construction/Trade 41.5%
#9 Hospitality 37.9%
#10 Healthcare 34.1%

Made to feel guilty for taking leave by a manager or colleague

Rank Industry % Made to feel guilty
#1 Design 25%
#2 Sales 16.7%
#3 Healthcare 13.8%
#4 Hospitality 11.1%
#5 Finance 9.1%
#6 Construction/Trade 7.9%
#7 Government 6.3%
#8 Education 3.1%
#9 IT 3.1%
#10 Office 2.1%

Didn’t get their leave approved

Rank Industry % Didn't get their leave approved
#1 Education 15.6%
#2 Healthcare 13.8%
#3 Hospitality 11.1%
#4 Sales 9.5%
#5 Government 9.4%
#6 Office 7.4%
#7 IT 6.3%
#8 Construction/Trade 5.3%
#9 Finance 4.5%
#10 Design 0%

Were forced to take leave

Rank Industry % Were forced to take leave
#1 Design 70.6%
#2 Finance 69%
#3 Office 66.7%
#4 IT 63.6%
#5 Construction/Trade 61.5%
#6 Education 51.3%
#7 Government 40.6%
#8 Sales 40.4%
#9 Hospitality 32.8%
#10 Healthcare 30.7%

Checked their work email while on holiday

Rank Industry % That checked emails on holiday
#1 Education 72.5%
#2 IT 65.2%
#3 Design 58.8%
#4 Hospitality 56.9%
#5 Sales 56.4%
#6 Finance 51.7%
#7 Office 50%
#8 Construction/Trade 49.2%
#9 Healthcare 48.9%
#10 Government 44.9%

Couldn’t switch off from work while on holiday

Rank Industry % That couldn't switch off on holiday
#1 Office 47.7%
#2 IT 45.5%
#3 Education 45%
#4 Hospitality 44.8%
#5 Sales 43.6%
#6 Finance 43.1%
#7 Construction/Trade 35.4%
#8 Government 34.8%
#9 Healthcare 30.7%
#10 Design 23.5%

Were emailed or texted while on holiday

Rank Industry % That were emailed or texted on holiday
#1 Sales 73.4%
#2 Hospitality 69%
#3 Healthcare 62.5%
#4 Finance 62.1%
#5 Construction/Trade 61.5%
#6 Office 60.9%
#7 Government 60.9%
#8 IT 60.6%
#9 Education 58.8%
#10 Design 47.1%

Office Workers

Pros

  • Of the 174 office workers surveyed, there was an above average response for feeling like 4 weeks annual leave was adequate - 47.1%
  • Least likely to be guilted about time off - 2.1%

Cons

  • Above average response for feeling restricted for when they could take their leave - 58.6%
  • Below average response for taking all of their paid leave - 46%
  • Above average responses for being unable to rely on their team or colleagues to cover their work and that they were too busy to leave their work - 7.7%
  • Above average response for being forced to take leave - 66.7%
  • Second most likely group to check their work email every day - 36.8%
  • Above average response for getting in contact with the office while on holiday - 45.4%
  • Least likely to be able to switch off from work while on holiday - 52.3%

Finance Workers

Pros

  • Of the 58 surveyed, finance work was the industry where employees were most likely to take all of their paid leave - 62.1%
  • Least likely to respond that they might not take annual leave due to feelings of guilt - 0%

Cons

  • Above average response for working on their holidays - 56.9%
  • Tied with sales for the second highest response of being unable to trust their team or colleagues to cover their work for them - 9.1%
  • Most restricted for when they could take annual leave - 60.3%
  • Below average satisfaction with the amount of holidays they received - 36.2%
  • Second most likely group to be forced to take leave - 69%
  • Above average response for getting in touch with managers and colleagues while on holiday - 46.6%
  • Tied for most likely to be contacted on holiday to talk about a work project - 50%

Sales Workers

Pros

  • Of the 94 sales workers surveyed, there was an above average response for taking all of their paid leave - 55.3%
  • Below average response for being forced to take leave - 40.4%

Cons

  • Above average response for working on holidays - 58.5%
  • Tied with finance for the second highest response of being unable to trust their team or colleagues to cover their work for them - 9.1%
  • Second highest group to report their manager or colleagues made them feel guilty enough not to take all of their leave - 16.7%
  • Most likely group to check their emails every day - 37.7%
  • Second most likely group to connect with their office while on leave - 47.9%
  • Most likely to be contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday - 73.4%

Construction/Trade Workers

Pros

  • Of the 65 construction/trade workers surveyed, there was above average response for thinking they get enough annual leave - 46.2%
  • Most likely to say that they have got too much leave - 26.3%
  • Second lowest group for reporting that they didn’t get their leave approved - 5.3%
  • Second least likely group to get in contact with their work while on leave - 30.8%

Cons

  • For those who did work on their holidays, they were the least likely to say it was because they actually enjoyed the work - 2.9%
  • Below average response for not taking their full allocation of paid leave - 41.5%
  • Second most likely to respond the reason they didn’t take all of their leave was because they felt guilty - 7.9%
  • Above average response for being forced to take leave - 61.5%
  • Second most likely to have been forced to take 2 weeks leave - 45%

Design Workers

Pros

  • Of the 17 surveyed, design workers were the most likely to respond that they worked on holidays because they enjoyed their work - 18.2%
  • Most likely to think that they got enough annual leave - 52.9%
  • Most likely to delete their work email off their phones while on holiday - 29.4%
  • Most likely to be able to switch off on holidays - 76.5%
  • Least likely to be contacted by a manager or colleague - 47.1%

Cons

  • Above average response for working on holidays - 64.7%
  • Second most likely to respond that they are too busy to leave their work until they get back - 9.1%
  • Most restricted for when they could take annual leave - 58.8%
  • Most likely to respond that they might not take annual leave because their manager or colleague made them feel guilty - 25%
  • Most likely to be forced to take leave - 70.6%
  • Most likely to be forced to take 2 weeks off - 50%
  • Above average response for checking emails while on holiday - 58.8%
  • Most likely to connect with someone in the office while on holiday - 52.9%

Education Workers

Pros

  • Of the 80 surveyed, education workers were the second most likely group to take all of their paid holidays - 60%
  • Second most likely to respond that they had too much leave - 21.9%

Cons

  • Most likely to work on their holidays - 67.5%
  • Most likely to not have their leave approved - 15.6%
  • Most likely to check work emails while on holiday - 72.5%
  • Above average for being contacted by managers or colleagues while on holiday - 46.3%
  • Below average for being able to switch off from work on holidays - 55%

Government Workers

Pros

  • Of the 69 surveyed, government workers were the second least likely group to work while on holiday - 43.5%
  • Had the lowest response of being unable to rely on their team or colleagues to cover their work - 0%
  • Were the least restricted for taking leave - 46.4%
  • Lowest group to check their emails on holiday - 44.9%
  • Had below average reports of forced leave - 40.6%

Cons

  • Least satisfied with the amount of annual leave they get - 27.5%
  • Least likely to delete access to their work emails - 8.7%

Healthcare Workers

Pros

  • Of the 88 surveyed, healthcare workers were the group least likely to work on their holidays - 36.4%
  • Least likely to be forced to take leave - 30.7%
  • Least likely to connect with a manager or colleague while on leave - 30.7%
  • Second most likely to delete access to their work emails while on holiday - 18.2%
  • Second most likely to be able to switch off from work while on holiday - 69.3%

Cons

  • Second least likely to be satisfied with the amount of annual leave they get - 31.8%
  • Least likely to take all of their annual leave - 34.1%
  • Second least likely group to have their leave approved - 13.8%

IT Workers

Pros

  • Of the 66 surveyed, IT workers were the second most likely group to say the reason they worked on their holidays was because they enjoyed it - 16.3%
  • Second most likely to respond they felt they got enough paid leave - 48.5%
  • Most likely to say they didn’t want time off work - 28.1%

Cons

  • Second most likely to work on their holidays - 65.2%
  • Second most likely to check their emails on holiday - 65.2%
  • Second least likely to be able to switch off from work on holiday - 54.5%

Hospitality Workers

Pros

  • Of the 58 hospitality workers surveyed, there was an above average response for thinking they got enough paid leave - 48.3%
  • Second most likely to say they didn’t want to take time off - 19.4%
  • Second least likely to be forced to take leave - 32.8%

Cons

  • Most likely to be unable to rely on their team or colleagues to get something done while they are on holiday - 12.1%
  • Second least likely to take all of their paid leave - 37.9%
  • Above average response for being made to feel guilty about taking leave - 11.1%
  • Above average response for not getting their leave approved - 11.1%
  • Second most likely to be contacted by a manager or colleague on holiday - 69%

Everyone has different priorities when it comes to work life balance, whether that be the freedom to take leave when you want, or to be uncontactable during said leave. And while it’s clear each industry has its pros and cons, the important thing is to find an industry where your work life balance expectations are being met.

Disclaimer

This survey was conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Budget Direct in October 2018. All figures are from this research unless stated otherwise. The survey was conducted online with a total sample size of 1,000 weighted and representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

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