While salary and a great office atmosphere are both highly desirable features of any job, a position that offers real work-life balance is invaluable in today’s world.

Even for those who love their jobs, it’s important to step away and enjoy time with friends and family, to focus on your hobbies, and to simply relax and switch your brain off for a while.

Work-life balance can mean different things to different people, but the definition generally tends to mean that a job doesn’t interfere with home or outside life, and often, that the work can be completed in a flexible location, or on flexible hours.

Currently, Australians are not faring well in terms of work-life balance compared with the rest of the world. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that Australia ranks in the bottom third of OECD countries for work-life balance.

So how can you find a job that won’t impinge on the rest of your life? We explore the jobs that have been identified to offer the best work-life balance in Australia.

HR jobs

According to the SEEK Learning Defining Work-Life Balance Report, HR professionals enjoy the best work-life balance in Australia, with 71% of HR professionals rating their job as excellent or good.

As the person responsible for ensuring employees feel happy and balanced in their own work, human resources professionals can lead the way for the rest of the business as well. HR staff are in a position of authority to advocate for leaving work on time, switching off in the evenings or negotiating for flexible work arrangements whenever possible.

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Insurance jobs

The same survey by SEEK found the majority of professionals in the insurance industry believe their job affords them a healthy work-life balance. 

Many insurance jobs require workers to meet with clients at different times of day, which opens up the opportunity to work flexible hours, and design a schedule that fits in with other responsibilities.

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Sales jobs

A big allure of a career in sales can be that certain roles come with a lot of flexibility. You can often set your own times to sit down to answer emails and meet clients. A job in sales can mean hard work and working outside of traditional hours, but the flexibility in schedule allows sales professionals to choose the times that suit them, outside of the usual 9-to-5.

Interestingly, a survey by Budget Direct also found that more than half of sales professionals take all their paid leave each year, higher than the average across all industries.

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Web designer jobs

Aside from the occasional big deadline that needs to be met, web designers can have a healthy work-life balance and the freedom to work as they please. As the nature of their work is predominantly online, web designers can often work from home or remotely, and so their hours can be flexible as well.

Additionally, the same survey by Budget Direct revealed that, of the industries surveyed, design professionals are most likely to agree that they have enough annual leave and are able to ‘switch off’ while on holidays.

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Data science jobs

The role of data scientists is to work primarily with figures: collecting data, organising and analysing it and ultimately finding meaning from the information at hand. Technically speaking, they can do this job anywhere, provided they have the right tools, which makes it entirely possible to work from home.

Additionally, as the average salary for data and systems professionals is on the higher side, it can provide those workers with in-demand skills much more leverage when negotiating hours and flexibility.

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The importance of work-life balance for employees across all markets and industries in today’s climate cannot be underestimated. While it will usually come down to the specific company and culture, there are certain jobs that better lend themselves to a realistic and practical work-life balance.

If you’ve found that your company isn’t supporting your needs for better work-life balance or flexibility, it may be time to see what else is out there.

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