Workers value Spousal Benefits

By Stephen Miller, CEBS February 12, 2014

Many workers are more than willing to change jobs or otherwise impede their career for the sake of their family relationships, according to staffing firm Spherion’s January 2014 WorkSphere survey, which polled employed U.S. adults. This sacrifice includes employees not taking a new job because it doesn't offer spousal benefits (46 percent of respondents) or allowing their job to take a back seat to enable their spouse’s work success.

Men (72 percent) and women (73 percent) were equally willing to focus less on their career for the sake of their partner’s career and family life. About 1 in 10 respondents had already taken a back seat in their career so their spouse or partner could advance instead, and a quarter of workers were extremely or very willing to do so.

The survey also revealed that most workers (70 percent) believe it’s more important for them to prioritize their personal life over their career. And more than half (64 percent) think that having a spouse or partner helps people advance in their profession.

“These findings illustrate that many workers are making their personal lives, their relationships and their families their top priorities, even ahead of their careers, in many instances,” said Sandy Mazur, Spherion’s division president. “For most employees, work/life balance is a top priority and their job responsibilities must be able to be integrated into their personal lives for them to define their careers as successful.”

Additional survey insights include:

  • Nearly 3 of every 4 employees (73 percent) whose employer extends benefits to their spouse or partner are more likely to stay with the organization because of these benefits.
  • More than 3 in 4 employees (78 percent) who don’t receive spousal benefits would be more likely to stay at their company if such benefits were offered.
  • Almost three-quarters of workers who receive spousal benefits (72 percent) said they are more satisfied with their job because their employer offers these benefits; 77 percent of respondents who do not receive spousal benefits would be more satisfied if their employer provided them.

As for prioritizing family over career, the survey found that:

  • Only 18 percent of employees would delay or decide not to have children because of their career.
  • More than half of workers (55 percent) would not delay or decide not to go on vacation for the sake of their career.

Finally, many workers are mixing business with pleasure: 26 percent of respondents reported that they met a spouse or partner at work.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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