Work-life balance in the Australian and New Zealand surveying profession

Publisher:
Emerald
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Structural Survey, 2008, 26 (2), pp. 120 - 130
Issue Date:
2008-01
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Purpose: This paper aims to establish and illustrate the levels of awareness of work-life balance policies within the surveying profession in Australia and New Zealand. The culture and characteristics of the Australian and New Zealand work force are to be identified. The key aspects included in work-life balance policies are to be illustrated and the perceived benefits for the surveying profession are to be noted. The paper seeks to posit that it is vital to comprehend the levels of awareness of work-life balance issues within the surveying profession first, so that benchmarking may occur over time within the profession and second, that comparisons may be drawn with other professions. Design/methodology/approach: There is a growing body of research into work-life balance and the built environment professions. Using a questionnaire survey of the whole RICS qualified surveying profession in Australia and New Zealand, this paper identifies the awareness of work-life balance benefits within the surveying profession. Findings: This research provides evidence that awareness of the issues and options is unevenly spread amongst professional surveyors in the region. With shortages of professionals and an active economy the pressures on existing employees looks set to rise and therefore this is an area which needs to be benchmarked and revisited with a view to adopting best practice throughout the sector. The implications are that employers ignore work-life balance issues at their peril. Practical implications: There is much to be learned from an increased understanding of work-life balance issues for professionals in the surveying discipline. The consequences of an imbalance between work and personal or family life is emotional exhaustion, cynicism and burnout. The consequences for employers or surveying firms are reduced effectiveness and profitability and increased employee turnover or churn. Originality/value: Leading on from Ellison's UK surveying profession study and Lingard and Francis's Australian civil engineering and construction industry studies, this paper seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of adopting work-life balance policies within surveying firms and to establish benchmarks of awareness within the Australian and New Zealand surveying profession.
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