Accountants unhappy at work-life balance

Accountants are the least happy profession in the UK when it comes to their work-life balance, according to research carried out by recruitment specialists Randstad Financial & Professional.

A survey of 2,000 employees placed accountants (42%) bottom of the list for happiness with how they combine work and their personal life, along with those working in financial services (47%), even though accountants typically have a shorter working week than the UK average.

In contrast, those working in utilities (94%) and insurance (90%) were most happy with their work-life balance, despite those sectors having some of the longest average working weeks in the UK. While accountants worked for an average of 33 hours and 83 minutes a week, those working in the insurance industry topped the 39 hours mark.

The survey also found that having some of the highest pay rates in the country did not improve accountants' view of their work-life options. While those working in media and leisure recorded some of the lowest pay rates, with average gross weekly earnings of £402.50, over two thirds (68%) said they were happy in terms of their work-life balance.

Tara Ricks, managing director of Randstad Financial & Professional said: 'We know work-life balance isn't just about pay - but we know there's more to it than just hours as well. It may also have a lot to do with the blending of work and personal lives. These people are passionate about their jobs and have a greater sense of integration between their professional and personal lives.'

Ricks said the survey results showed professionals in financial services and accountancy are feeling overstretched, as a result of teams being stripped back during the financial recession, but said that working in very lean teams could prove good experience for newer recruits.

'Accelerated learning in small teams with stretched staff can speed up development allowing passionate high flyers to shine and improve their promotion prospects. A new cohort is emerging in Britain's workforce which, thanks to the financial crisis, has excellent experience - albeit, perhaps, at the expense of their work-life balance,' Ricks said.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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