Eight hours a day, five days a week — and sometimes even more hours and more days — isn’t working for most of us. Tired and stressed, most of us are searching for the best work-life balance jobs.
This can often feel like an uphill battle in a world dealing with mass tech layoffs and return-to-office mandates from companies.
One in three workers in the US claims that having a work-life balance has become less attainable.
But the good news is the best work-life balance jobs exist and are, naturally, high in demand — though not for the reasons we think.
The best work-life balance jobs are not what you think
And that’s because of the word “balance.” Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a situation in which two opposing forces have or are given the same power.”
It’s a state of grace where everything falls into place and all is right. It sounds like a dream — and for the most part, it is.
‘‘Balance is something you want but can never have,’’ says Cali Yost, who describes herself as a visionary workplace futurist, strategist, author, and keynote speaker.
Her speciality is helping businesses become more flexible — and one of the ways she does this is to use the term “work-life fit” instead. It better represents how we are putting together different parts of ourselves.
While many may think work-life balance is 50-50, and thus dividing their tasks and energy equally, this may not pan out every day.
We must acknowledge that some days, our sense of balance may differ from our usual.
In fact, this is a habit that business researchers say we should do daily to achieve better between our work and personal commitments.
It has two aspects to it — firstly, being self-aware about situations that are making you stressed, dissatisfied and unbalanced.
Then, intentionally understanding what’s important to you in life, considering your alternatives to pay more attention to what matters to you more, before taking action.
In this process, we’ll discover that it isn’t 50/50 work-life balance that we want or need, but for things to be more flexible.
And therein lies the keyword in our quest to find the best work-life balance jobs: flexibility.
It’ll differ from me, you and your colleague, but what it essentially means is greater control over when and how we work.
Am I qualified to get the best work-life balance jobs?
Most of us think we’re stuck in one job forever because our degree limits us to just that.
While there are degrees like medicine and accounting that, as their names show, place their graduates in just hospitals and finance departments, most degrees today are more versatile than we think.
And what’s just as important as your technical know-how is whether you have the soft skills that make you a good worker.
These include critical thinking, creative problem-solving, time management, effective communication, leadership, ability to work in a team and more.
If you have these qualities, then check if you have the degrees that lead to the “best work-life balance jobs.”
The jobs below are chosen as the best work-life balance jobs because they offer:
- Most flexibility over how you work
- Most flexibility over where you work
- Pays well enough for you to afford services like catering or childcare
10 degrees that lead to the best work-life balance jobs:
1. Bachelor of Dentistry
While a career in dentistry involves looking into people’s mouths all day, it is one of the best work-life balance jobs today.
Dentists typically have a well-structured and low-stress role, allowing them to manage their calendars and schedules each workday efficiently.
As a result, maintaining a work-life balance may be simpler than others in the healthcare field.
Another perk? Dentists can’t bring their work home with them.
Once their work for the day is complete, they can fully disconnect and shift their focus back to their personal life.
This clear separation between work and personal life contributes to a more balanced lifestyle for dentists.
2. Bachelor in Data Science
A data scientist is a skilled professional with expertise in analysing data and providing organisational solutions. They are responsible for collecting, analysing, and processing data to develop actionable plans and solve complex problems.
While data scientists may work long hours at times, they can typically work anywhere they have a computer and internet access.
Plus, they get high salaries and work flexibility, including flexible hours and remote work options — both of which give you greater control over how to fit different pieces of your life together.
3. Bachelor in Web Design
Web designers are responsible for creating web pages and handling the design, layout, and functionality of websites.
Their main objective is to ensure users have a good website experience by making the sites visually appealing and user-friendly.
One of the advantages of pursuing a career in web design is the potential for a good work-life balance. It is a well-paying profession that offers the flexibility to work part-time or full-time.
There are also opportunities to work remotely, enabling web designers to work from anywhere, giving them more flexibility and independence.
4. Bachelor of Kinesiology
Those in this field work with their clients to teach them how to exercise properly and motivate them to achieve their fitness goals. You may have classes with a group of people or conduct one-on-one lessons.
While you may have to work nights and weekends, you will have the flexibility to schedule appointments, choose the number of clients and decide the type of training.
Another plus point to a career in this field is that it is almost impossible to take work home as you work with clients, so your job for the day ends at the workplace leaving time for you to relax after work.
5. Bachelor in Teaching
While many avoid a career in teaching to steer clear of screaming children, they’re missing a crucial fact: teachers actually lead one of the best work-life balance lifestyles.
Who wouldn’t want to take summers off?
Teachers may have to work after hours to grade papers and create lesson plans, but they also enjoy long school holidays. In fact, they have the most number of days off compared to any other job.
And if you are looking for a more flexible schedule, you can consider substitute teaching, which gives you the freedom to work when you want.
6. Bachelor in Finance and Accounting
Working in accounts and finance may sound like a snooze fest, but it pays well – and is one of the best work-life balance jobs.
Though it is important to note a job in accounting and finance could lean a bit more towards the “work” part.
The industry is known for demanding work schedules, especially during peak seasons. During these times, you may need to endure long working hours to meet deadlines and complete tasks.
However, outside of these busy periods, many in this field report enjoying a good work-life balance and are satisfied with their careers.
The best work-life balance jobs give you greater control over when and how they work — you’re more qualified for them than you think. Source: Philippe Lopez/AFP
7. Bachelor in Engineering
It is no surprise that engineers are some of the highest paid in the world. But did you know that a career in this field offers the best quality of life?
According to Glassdoor’s list of best work-life balance jobs, research engineers score a high rating of 3.9. Those in this line work in an office or spend their days in the laboratory analysing processes and conducting experiments.
Despite having a full-time working schedule, the 9-to-5 working hours make it easy to have a work-life balance. Many have reported having lives outside of work with time for family and hobbies.
8. Bachelor in Human Resource Management
If there’s one thing people in HR should get right, it’s work-life balance. After all, they’re the ones at the forefront of introducing and updating policies and benefits that impact work-life balance and should set an example.
While there will be periods of high intensity, this is a well-compensated job. In 2020, median annual salaries were above average — at US$63,490 — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The 2020 median annual salary for all occupations was US$41,950.1
This means you can afford more services, such as house cleaning and childcare, to help free up your time to do things you like.
9. Master in Physician Assistance
If you are looking for a job that clearly defines the boundaries of work and personal life, a career as a physician assistant (PA) is the answer.
As a PA, you are a medical professional that helps diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of a doctor.
The road to becoming a PA, however, is not as easy. To secure a job in this field, you first need a master’s degree in PA studies from a university programme accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).
Once completed, you will enjoy a career across several fields, including:
- Family medicine
- Emergency medicine
PA’s have one of the best work-life balance jobs, as once their shift ends, there is no way of bringing their work home since they handle patients.
10. Bachelor in Translation
If you have a flair for languages, a career as a translator will be perfect for you. People in this field translate language from one to another. Their job is to help people communicate when there are language barriers.
Though rare, translation is a unique field of study designed to provide you with language fluency and linguistic knowledge in preparation for a career in translation and interpretation.
The best part about this career is that not many people are bilingual or trilingual. This means you don’t need to compete much for the freelance translation jobs available, which lets you choose how and when you want to work.