Switching careers is never an easy decision. For many people any job in their chosen sector will keep them happy but for how long? Wellbeing plays a huge role in job satisfaction and is an important one to consider when choosing a company to work for. In fact it’s so important these days that potential employees prefer to know a companies wellbeing program before the salary.
According to Deakin University research assistant, Kim Goodwin and graduate Angela Heck good work culture is vital to career longevity.
Goodwin has worked for big banks and small not-for-profits, and has just finished a PhD on employment in the creative industries. She says ideal work culture is where the organisation puts its people first.
“Culture is the most important thing and it’s culture in terms of attitude, not in terms of physical characteristics. It’s not necessarily about having lots of resources and a flashy foosball table. It’s actually about where the company values the intellectual contribution that you can make to the organisation,” says Goodwin.
Heck says people shouldn’t be fooled by token wellbeing benefits, like a bowl of fruit, or free gym membership.
“Stuff that works is flexibility, understanding, education. A good sign is an employer willing to invest in staff. Funding post-grad is a really great benefit, even if it’s 50/50,” said Heck.
“But as your salary grows expect your work/life balance to take a hit. The top salary of whatever industry you’re in isn’t going to be a walk in the park,’ said Heck adding that it’s important to keep in mind that most people can’t maintain the pace demanded by a high salary forever.
“You have to kind of meet somewhere in the middle before you burn out, or have an exit plan.”
Heck says most jobs will advertise the pay and people can find out which careers are the highest paid with quick research but it’s a bit trickier to find out what a job’s work culture will be like, but is just as important.
“Start by asking about culture in job interviews: Is there flexibility in work hours? Is there a staff wellbeing program? Is training offered?” said Heck pointing out that in some cases, your interviewer might not give you the full picture.
“You know the ones with the really bad reputation because it’s spread in the industry, but that interviewer is never going to tell you that. You have to look for different ways to find out.”