What Men Really Want?

What Men Really WantThat’s one small step for man, one giant leap for man?

A big step forward on the topic of workplace flexibility occurred last week with the release of a report titled “Men Get Flexible! Mainstreaming Flexible Work in Australian Business”.  Produced by Diversity Council Australia in collaboration with Westpac and supported by sponsers Stockland, Origin and Allens, the report uncovered while there is a desire to access flexible work from Australian men, their opportunity to do so is limited.

The summary released by DCA showed demographics have changed and with 64% of fathers now having a partner in the paid workforce, and 31% having elder care responsibilities, more men in the workforce are now experiencing higher levels of demand in terms of balancing their work and family/personal commitments.  The knowledge that Australian men want and need access to flexible working to support their important roles as fathers, carers and engaged volunteers in their communities should be a great help in helping more Australian business justify providing these working conditions for all workers, not just mothers.

While there were many key points of interest released by DCA, our main takeaways from the data were

  1. Having the flexibility to manage family/personal life was in the top five job characteristics for all men, and for young fathers, it was the third most highly valued job characteristic.
  2. Workplace flexibility is a key driver of employment decisions for men, including young men, men approaching retirement and especially men who are both younger and are fathers.
  3. 18% of men indicated that they had seriously considered leaving their organisation because of a lack of flexibility. Young fathers and men under 35 years of age without caring responsibilities were much more likely to indicate this – 37% and 29% respectively.
  1. Men who have the flexibility that meets their work and family/personal needs are more likely to be engaged and to contribute their discretionary effort.
  2. Men who have greater access to flexible work that results in a reduction of either work/life conflict or reduced work to family/personal life spillover:
    1. Are more effective in their jobs, report higher work performance, are less troubled by work overload, take fewer risks that can compromise productivity and are absent for fewer days; and
    2. Have lower levels of personal stress and burnout and work-life interference or conflict.

You can read the full DCA release here.  If you’re an employer, be sure to check out the strategies organisations can employ to engage men in flexible working.  While the entire release was of interest, we particularly liked seeing further evidence that mainstreaming flexibility in Australian workplaces can generate positive outcomes for men, women, families and the organisations that adopt these practices.

Be sure to let us know how you feel about these findings.  Are you a young father and if so, are you among the 3/4’s of young fathers indicating workplace flexibility an important driver for your ongoing employment decisions?  If you’re a mother, how does the prospect of your partner getting more flexibility to play a larger role in the responsibilities of child raising sit with you?


Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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