Workers willing to exchange money for being happy on the job

Originally posted by Andrea Davis on

Even in the face of a turbulent economy and competitive job market, 68% of working Americans would be willing to take a pay cut to work in a job that better allowed them to apply their personal interests to the workplace. Moreover, almost one-quarter of workers (23%) would take a pay cut of 25% or more. The results come from a survey of 1,000 working Americans conducted by Philips North America. (see the infographic on page 41 for more survey results.)

Old paradigm gone

“Seven percent were willing to take a 50% pay cut. That’s a life changing number but it’s something people were willing to give up to have a career opportunity that was really consistent with their passions and goals,” says Russell Schramm, Philips’ head of talent acquisition for the Americas. “The whole paradigm of getting your degree, getting a job, making money regardless of what you’re doing, is gone.”

Forty-eight percent of workers who are able to leverage personal interests in the workplace say they are very satisfied, according to the survey.

“In talent acquisition, we talk a lot about what makes a person accept a position or leave a position and we’re seeing, more and more, that meaningful work and work that is relevant to them and their personal passions is becoming more prominent,” says Schramm, adding that one of his biggest challenges is being able to identify those personal passions and interests in the candidates who come in for interviews.

“Empowering my team to look at not just what’s on the résumé, but [to] look at beyond what’s on the résumé [is important],” he says. “What is the motivating driver? What is this person interested in? How are they going to apply that to Philips?”

Talent acquisition is rapidly shifting, he says, “from a transactional, requisition-based process to a much more qualitative process where we’re looking for people with a deeper set of skills above and beyond the hard skills that are just required to do the job.”

Career path regrets

Forty-one percent of those who don’t apply personal interests through their work regret their career path, whereas only 23% of workers who are able to do so regret theirs. More than half (51%) of those surveyed have never changed career paths to integrate their work and personal life in a more meaningful way.

“The survey was our way of understanding what motivates people in the labor market,” says Schramm, of the reasons for conducting the survey. “We wanted to understand some of those things that really drive talented individuals in the labor market so we could develop and deliver a workplace reality that would be attractive to those folks.”