In today’s modern society, career matters. In fact, even before globalization, career has been at the forefront of most people’s minds. Today, most employees and executives suggest that some of the main pressures in their lives are work-related. Concerns over long hours and striking a work-life balance are issues which have long burdened individuals with growing responsibilities at work.

A 2012 survey of executives working in China, conducted by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), indicated that 83.3% of executives working in China considered work-life balance to be either important or very important to them. When the same executives were asked; "how would you rate your ability to manage the ratio between your work life and your personal life?," no executives responded that they felt they excelled at this. Equally, an astonishing 26.2% of executives surveyed in China considered themselves to be below average at striking a healthy balance.

Moreover, when quizzed about what was the most important aid to executives in juggling a fulfilling personal life and a thriving career, executives indicated it was flexible working hours and the ability to work remotely. Interestingly, 88.2% of the participants in the survey were male, suggesting that work-life balance, which is traditionally stereotyped as an issue afflicting female executives, is equally a pressing concern for their male counterparts. Furthermore, 51% of executives surveyed indicated that they were between 35-44 years of age, and the sample was taken from both expatriate executives and local talent from within China, suggesting that this is a cross-cultural issue.

Overall the survey highlights that, executives are still faced with the challenge of juggling their career and their family life. The corporate ladder has become more competitive than it has ever been. Executives are expected to compete on a global platform for positions, and in most cases something has to give. Unfortunately the time given up tends to be the time outside of the office. The AESC survey conveys that personal and family life are the most important factor in an executive's life, and having a demanding career does not necessarily mean that personal life has to suffer. Interestingly, executives suggested that flexible working conditions were more important to them than paid time away from the office, suggesting that perhaps a more balanced life can be achieved through this method.

This article was written by Helen Langley of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

The AESC has member executive search firms located throughout China, all with access to your BlueSteps career profile and CV.



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