Job satisfaction beats salary

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."



Employees' top 10 desired perks for the workplace


Since 32% of employers reported that top performers left their organizations in 2012 and 39% are concerned that they'll lose top talent in 2013, many are asking current employees for feedback on how to increase job satisfaction. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 26% of workers said that providing special perks is an effective way to improve employee retention. Here are the 10 that scored highest when workers were asked to identify one perk that would make their workplace more satisfying.

1. Half-day Fridays

The top choice for 40% of employees surveyed was early dismissal on Fridays. According to Mercer research, work-life balance could recharge employee engagement and help retain employees.

2. On-site fitness center

Twenty percent of workers said providing easy access to gyms would increase their job satisfaction. A HealthFitness expert offers 10 tips in this slide show for building and sustaining a culture of health in the workplace.

3. Ability to wear jeans

Having a casual dress code was the most preferred perk by 18% of employees and doesn't cost employers a dime to implement.

4. Daily catered lunches

On the other hand, 17% of employees wished their employer would provide daily lunches, which could improve productivity in addition to satisfaction if workers don’t need to leave the office to buy food.

5. Massages

Employees who wanted massages to relax in the workplace (16%) may be on to something as experts claim massage therapy can boost morale, increase productivity and even help with attraction and retention.

6. Nap room

The Huffington Post and Google have created napping rooms or pods in their offices, a perk that 12% of employees wanted most, according to CareerBuilder. Arianna Huffington said “I love seeing our hard-working reporters disappear into the nap room,” and joked: “We haven’t seen any disappear in pairs yet, but we’re watching for it!”

7. Rides to and from work

Not only could office-provided transportation or organized carpooling save employees stressful commutes, sharing a ride could help them save money on transportation or fuel costs. No wonder 12% desire this perk most from their employers.

8. Snack cart that comes around the office

Having a snack cart patrol the office would permit employees to munch happily while never leaving their desks. Eight percent of employees said this perk would most improve their job satisfaction.

9. Private restroom

Having their own restroom would make 7% of workers very appreciative, though employers may have trouble giving this perk to every employee.

10. On-site daycare

Home Depot agrees with 6% of workers that on-site daycare is a perk worth having. The company’s onsite child care facility has space for 278 children and is available to all employees in the Atlanta area, not just those who work at the head office.