Investigative Study - Work-Life Balance

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Donna Petry

Investigative Study

Career Management

Lavinia Puanaki
3/26/2012


Introduction –
The topic I wish to discuss is Work life balance – concept and practice in NZ. According to the State Services website http://www.ssc.govt.nz/node/6848, “Work-life balance is about the interaction between paid work and other activities, including unpaid work in families and in the community, leisure and personal development”. It also relates to work-life balance being “for any one person to have the ‘right’ combination of participation in paid work (defined by hours and working conditions), and other aspects of their lives.” (2005) In order to gauge an interesting review of this topic; I endeavored to research as much as I possibly could by using the internet, libraries (EIT and Hastings) and their databases, as well as speaking with friends and family regarding their views on the issue. The research question I explored is: “How do women in New Zealand strive for a sufficient work-life balance in today’s working environment?” Over half the working age women of New Zealand are in the workplace. They have many responsibilities, to their careers, their families and outside activities. Through this research I will explore how women are expected to entail a healthy work-life balance, whilst also maintaining a healthy family situation and remain focused on their career aspirations. It used to be said that job stability was the major factor or worry of those employed. Having job security was a high level priority. Nowadays, job-seekers and employees have a strong tendency towards gaining a work-life balance in their job or career. In the following essay I will develop these ideas and issues with regards to the topic of Work life balance.  

Development –
One trend of women’s labor force is that there are at least 61.8% of all working age women in the workplace. This is in comparison to men who are at 75.7%. It is more common for women to be in part-time work at 34.8% (men 10.4%) and this proportion has remained relatively the same over the last ten years (DoL, 2007). This can also be broken down by ethnicity, which shows European women at 62.8%, 60.4% of Maori women, 55.2% of Pacific women and women of other ethnicities at 7.2%. According to Statistics New Zealand, there has been some growth in women’s employments rates, but most occupations remain segregated by gender. Women in this section can be clustered into three occupational groups; clerks, service and sales workers and professionals. The proportion of self-employed women has increased slightly and stands at approximately 36% of all self-employed. Because women have higher levels of caring responsibilities e.g. looking after dependents or elderly family members, they tend to have lower levels of education; which has a flow-on effect of lower levels of labor force participation. The average hourly wage of all women from employment ranges from $15.97 to $33.76 (Statistics NZ, 2010). This is highly dependent on what type of job/occupation and what industry is involved. It has been noted that there are a significant number of working women that have difficulty achieving a good work-life balance. There are mixed views on the extent to which it has become easier or harder to balance work and family responsibilities. The information I researched aided in the building of this investigative study and the material I have used is relevant to the topic and the research question.  

Discussion –
From the research I have found that around seventy-eight percent of the work force are satisfied with their work-life balance. Of this, 72% of fulltime working women are satisfied and 89% of women working part-time also satisfied. Work-life balance is an increasing priority and is not just an issue for individuals, but also employers, the market, the state and society as a whole. Most people rate their work-life balance positively and over the years this...
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