Industry Market Trends

How Do Employees Define Career Success?

Mar 07, 2013

While money and power may be the ultimate career goals for many, most employees say that they associate success with work-life balance, a new survey reveals.

renjith krishnan at Credit: renjith krishnan at

Global research from Accenture found that more than half (52 percent) of professionals have turned down a job over concerns about their work-life balance. A majority of survey respondents (56 percent) correlate work-life balance with success, over money (46 percent), recognition (42 percent), and autonomy (42 percent).

Preference for work-life balance reflects a workforce shift. A 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics time-use survey found that Americans 25 to 54 years old with children commit more time to work and work-related activities (8.8 hours) than sleeping (7.6 hours) during an average business day. Even more, an employee survey by Good Technology revealed that 80 percent of the 1,000 workers they polled continued to work outside of the office.

Even when on vacation, employees focus on work. Seventy-five percent of Accenture respondents said that they occupy their time with work-related calls, emails, and updates during paid time off.

In other words, Americans may be working too much, and technology may be exacerbating the problem. While 77 percent agreed that technology allows them to have more flexible schedules, 70 percent also admitted that using technology brings work into their personal lives.

Even though most strive to achieve a work-life balance, the good news is that most employees, 53 percent of women and 50 percent of men, reported job satisfaction.

"The fact that finding the right approach to integrating career and life demands continues to be critically important to employees is significant for employers," according to Nellie Borrero, managing director of global inclusion and diversity at Accenture, in a statement. "Companies that can help their employees navigate both their professional and personal lives are likely to see strong employee engagement and enjoy an advantage as they recruit and retain high performers."

How do you define career success?