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Poor wellbeing at work a ‘dealbreaker’ for male lawyers

Women more than twice as likely to put up with poor wellbeing for a higher salary 

25 November 2014

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Men in the legal sector are more than twice as likely than women to walk out over poor wellbeing, newly-released UK market research has found.

The survey found that a third of men (35 per cent) would consider leaving their job if they didn't feel cared for by their employers, compared to just 14 per cent of women.

Women are also much more likely to put up with poor wellbeing for a sake of a higher salary, at 17 per cent, compared to only seven per cent of men.

"This research shows that law firms are at risk of losing talented male employees if they don't take steps to improve perceptions of wellbeing," said Linda Lavesque, vice president of HR benefits at Unum, which commissioned the research.

"With an average staff turnover cost of £39,887 per employee in the legal sector, this is an issue employers simply cannot afford to ignore.

"One of the most tangible ways to do this is to provide a best practice employee benefits package, including long-term benefits like income protection which supports staff financially if they fall ill."

A third of male respondents in the legal sector said their wellbeing had deteriorated over the past three years, compared to just a quarter of women.

Workplace wellbeing is defined as staff feeling well looked after by their employer.

The research identified a number of elements that impact on perceptions of wellbeing. When men in the legal sector were asked what they considered important, 80 per cent said empowerment at work, 77 per cent said recognition for achievements and 76 per cent said reasonable hours.

It also found that one of the most tangible ways for employers to show they care is to provide a full and comprehensive benefits package, which is important to 59 per cent of male respondents in the sector.

The research comes amid growing concern about stress and resilience in the legal sector. A Law Society survey found that 95 per cent of solicitors are stressed, with 16 per cent reporting 'severe' or 'extreme' levels of stress.

"This research backs up what we know from callers to our helpline. Last year, the most common reason for calling, was stress (74 per cent) with more women (60 per cent) calling us than men," said Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare.

"Women generally seek help more readily than men, and we need to work harder at encouraging men to seek the support they need to maintain their wellbeing and recognise how important this is for a rewarding legal career."

The findings are based on an online survey conducted by ICM Research in April 2014. It received 709 responses from employees in five sectors: legal (140), accounting (141), technology (142), media and advertising (142) and retail (144).

In the legal sector, 24 per cent are aged 35 to 44; 36 per cent are aged 45 to 54; and 18 per cent are aged 55 to 64. All respondents are based in the UK and half are at organisations with more than 200 employees.




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