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Working on the Weekend? Welcome to the Media Industry

You or someone you know might be a workaholic.

Media and entertainment executives are more likely to work outside regular business hours than professionals in most other industries -- and they’re more likely to be single.

That’s according to a global survey by Accenture released Friday about work/life balance issues.

The survey found that about 37% of M&E executives said they frequently work on holidays and weekends. That was higher than in any of the 26 other industry sectors Accenture surveyed. (Yeah, I’m posting this on a Sunday, but, you know, this is one of the fun parts of my job.)

More than a quarter (28%) of media and entertainment professionals said they frequently do work while on paid time off (i.e., vacation), with only executives in the medical products industry claiming a higher rate, at 33%.

Meanwhile, 31% of M&E types said they don’t have a significant other in their lives -- also the highest response rate among the sectors represented in the survey.

Interestingly, however, just 39% of media and entertainment industry execs consider themselves workaholics, which was in line with the average of 40% across all sectors.

The responses from 123 media and entertainment executives from midsize and large companies were part of a larger Accenture survey of 4,100 professionals worldwide covering work/life balance issues.

The consulting firm released the study ahead of International Women’s Day, on March 8 this year, described as “a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.”

A key finding from Accenture's survey: 70% of both women and men believe they can have a successful career as well as a full life outside work but about 50% also said they cannot “have it all at the same time.”

Across all industries, achieving work/life balance was the No. 1 choice for how people define career success, with 56% of respondents citing it (multiple choices were allowed). For M&E executives work/life balance also was at the top, though in this group 47% picked it. By comparison, 46% of those surveyed overall said "money" was in their definition of success, versus 42% of those in media and entertainment.

People have mixed feelings about how technology -- remote access to email, for example -- affects work/life balance. While 78% agreed technology enables them to be more flexible with their schedules, 70% said it “brings work into their personal lives.”

Other survey results for the media and entertainment segment:

  • Nearly half (49%) cited as the biggest source of stress their “workload/volume”; 42% cited deadlines; and 24% blamed their boss.
  • 59% of M&E execs cited “poor company culture” as how they would describe a bad working environment; 57% said “feeling your work goes unnoticed” and the same percentage cited “uncertain company ethics.”
  • 54% of media and entertainment executives said “more money” would make them feel more successful in their careers, while 41% said the “ability to have a social impact/make a difference” would make them feel more successful. Another 26% want a “job with more status.”

Accenture conducted the online survey in November 2012; the margin of error for the total sample was about 2%. A full report on the Accenture research is available at

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