Flexible working hours are more important than money for nearly a third of people looking for a new job, according to a recent survey, writes Ross Bentley.
The online poll, carried out by recruitment website reed.co.uk with the Department of Trade & Industry's Work-Life Balance campaign, surveyed more than 4,000 job-seekers.
Forty six per cent cited flexible working as the benefit they would most look for in their next job, with only 7% choosing gym membership and 10% opting for a company car
Thirty three per cent would rather have the opportunity to work flexible hours than receive £1,000 more pay per year
Sixty eight per cent of jobseekers would like the chance to work more flexible hours when necessary
Seventy seven per cent of parents with children under the age of six said that work/life balance is an important factor in deciding whether to apply for a new job
Sixty per cent of workers view their work/life balance as an important factor in deciding whether to take a new job.
The results of the survey have been made available before a new set of family-friendly employment laws come into force on 6 April.
The new laws mean more pay and leave for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. Employers will also have to seriously consider requests from parents with young or disabled children for flexible working arrangements.
Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt said, "Increasingly, people want more from work than the usual package. The best businesses are already switched on to this and are using flexible working policies to attract and retain the people they need in the war for talent.
"This poll shows that getting a better work/life balance is becoming much more important for all employees - men as much as women - and the competitive advantages business gains from offering flexible working are now well established.
"The new employment rights will be a major step forward in helping businesses hold onto good staff and help millions of working parents balance work and childcare."
Other findings in the poll were:
Less than 18% of jobseekers would be happy to work significantly longer hours for more money
Forty three per cent of men chose flexible working as the benefit they would most look for in a new job, compared with just 13% who would look for company car and only 7% who would look for gym membership
Forty five per cent of undergraduates and recent graduates would prefer flexibility in hours to a company car (14%) or gym membership (4%)
Twenty four per cent of managers said work/life balance was an extremely important factor in deciding whether to apply for a new job
Thirty seven per cent of women chose flexible working over £1,000 more pay per year, compared to 27% of men.
Acas has set up a helpline to offer guidance about the new employment laws and other work/life balance issues. Tel: 08457-474 747.