A new survey which questioned over 9,000 UK employees has found that the main priority for  employees looking for a new employer is the work-life balance offered. 

Randstad, a specialist recruiter, has found that the shift to remote working and the circumstances of the past year has rearranged priorities for employees searching for a new employer.

When over 9,000 UK respondents were asked what the five most important drivers were when it comes to choosing an employer, two-thirds (65 per cent) stated that the most important factor was a work-life balance.

Older workers were found to be the age group prioritising a work-life balance the most, with seven in 10 (70 per cent) 55-64 year olds saying this is important to them. This was compared to just 59 per cent of 18-24 year olds.

However, this was swiftly followed by the desire for an attractive salary and benefits package, showing remuneration is still of high importance to the majority of the workforce (64 per cent).

In light of the uncertainty in the labour market currently, over three-fifths (61 per cent) cited job security as crucial whilst 58 per cent identified good training opportunities as a main priority. Last in the list was a pleasant work atmosphere (55 per cent).

The findings found a significant gap between what employers offer and what their employees actually desire.

An evaluation of current employer offerings revealed that work-life balance is further down the priority list, sitting in sixth place. Looking at the general perception of what employers across the UK offer as a whole, work-life balance slips even further down, to eighth place, highlighting an oversight of the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Victoria Short, Randstad UK CEO, said:

In some respects, the profound changes in many people’s jobs has clearly brought the benefits of flexible working to the surface. For many, remote working has increased the number of hours they are connected to their employers, reflecting the need for a better lifestyle balance. At the same time, some have benefitted from working at home by being able to carry out tasks or juggle personal responsibilities around a more flexible work schedule.

Interestingly, our findings revealed a stronger appetite for a better work-life balance in the UK compared to the rest of Europe. Overseas, an attractive salary and benefits package still holds the top spot in terms of the most important aspect when choosing an employer. For me, that suggests some lessons to be learned from the UK around promoting flexible working patterns.


*Findings presented within Randstad‘s Employer Brand Research are based on an independent survey of over 190,000 respondents in 34 countries. Within the UK, 9,082 respondents took part in the January 2021 survey and 6,493 companies were surveyed worldwide.