American expat employees want more time at home.

From Briefcases to Baseball

Men and women today want more time for themselves and their families — and they’re willing to sacrifice pay and hours to get it, according to a survey by the staffing services firm Robert Half International.

On average, survey respondents say they would cut back by as much as 21%, a sharp increase over the results from a similar survey conducted in 1989.

Here is the breakdown by gender:

  • Men say they would reduce their hours and salary an average 18% to acquire more flexibility, up from 11% in 1989.


  • Female respondents continue to be more willing than men to reduce their hours and salary in favor of more personal time. They would scale back hours and pay an average 23%, compared to 14% seven years ago.

Survey respondents were also asked if they would give up rapid career advancement for more family or personal time. More than three quarters (76%) said yes, a slight decline from the response of 78% in 1989.

“As more working parents step off the career “fast-track” and seek greater fulfillment in their personal lives, employers will need to respond with a more flexible work environment,” says Robert Half Chairman and CEO Max Messmer.

He advises firms who are considering adopting more flexible work programs to do so gradually. “Before making sweeping, company-wide changes, explore a few options to determine which of them are most effective for everyone involved.”

Messmer says more professionals are achieving a balance between career and family by working as temporaries, contract employees and part-timers, which allows for greater flexibility in scheduling hours.

Supporting the trend are statistics released from the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services, which show an increase in the number of professionals choosing careers as temporaries. In 1995, there were 2.16 million temporaries in the US workforce, up 10% over the previous year, and nearly double the number five years ago.