The top three things on the wishlist of Irish workers

pperson filling outwishlist

by Tom Curran, head of wellbeing with Lockton People Solutions

A four-day working week, followed by more flexible work hours and unlimited annual leave are the most popular non-traditional employee benefits that workers in Ireland would choose if they had the chance.

A recent survey commissioned by Lockton People Solutions[1], which shed light on the evolving dynamics of employee priorities in Ireland has found that gender plays a significant role in shaping employee benefit priorities.

Notable highlights from the survey include:

  • Almost seven in ten (66pc) women expressed a desire for a four-day working week compared with 59pc of men. In addition, 63pc of women would prefer more flexibility in working hours, surpassing the 54pc of men who shared the same sentiment.
  • While almost one in ten (9pc) men prioritised fertility leave in their top three choices, just 4pc of women did the same.
  • Employer-sponsored initiatives such as onsite childcare facilities or subsidies emerged as noteworthy considerations for employees. Among those surveyed, almost one in five (18pc) women and one in ten (11pc) men ranked this option in their top three preferences, indicating the growing significance of family-friendly benefits.
  • Age has some bearing with those over 55 most likely to say unlimited leave would be in their top three wishlist (53pc) while those aged 25 – 34 were most likely to want extended parental leave (32pc).
  • People in very large organisations were significantly more likely to put a four-day working week in their top three wishlist.

These numbers tell a story of the evolving dynamics of the modern workforce in this country. It’s interesting to note that women in particular are eagerly embracing the idea of a four-day work week and flexible working arrangements – which could be interpreted as a tangible expression of their desire for work-life balance. More needs to be done to encourage and facilitate female participation in the labour force. Currently, about 60pc of females are in the workplace – compared to 71pc of males, according to recent CSO figures[2]. The barriers to female participation in the workplace are well documented. The cost of early childhood education and childcare in Ireland is one of the highest in the EU[3].

[1] Conducted by iReach

[2] As per CSO figures in its Labour Force Survey of Q2 2022 – which was published in August 2022.

[3] As per the European Commission’s Ireland’s 2022 Country Report – which was published in summer 2022.