- Money remains the top reason why workers quit their jobs, but it's not always what attracts them to a new opportunity, according to a PayScale study. One-quarter of respondents cited a bigger paycheck as their top reason for quitting their job, but 27% said "the opportunity to do more meaningful work" is why they accepted a new position.
- PayScale's Chief Economist Katie Bardaro explained the study's significance in a press statement. "We are currently experiencing a strong economy with record low unemployment which promotes more risk-taking amongst workers and increases their confidence about changing jobs," said Bardaro. "The search for more pay is a very strong driver for employees who are considering leaving, but the most interesting part of our research shows that once employees decide to leave, they also want a more fulfilling job." A Gallup poll that found only 13% of workers consider their job meaningful supports PayScale's findings, the company noted.
- Less than one-fifth of respondents said they were unhappy at their current organization, while about the same number said increased responsibilities drove them to a new job or that more pay was the key driver for switching jobs. Women were 11% more likely than men to say flexible work options drove them to a new job, and millennials were 9% more likely to leave a job for more money than boomers, PayScale said.
The importance of meaningful work is hardly a new idea; a two-year-old study by the Workhuman Analytics and Research Institute and IBM's Smarter Workforce Institute found that meaningful work was critical to employees' happiness. A 2018 survey by the mobile coaching firm Betterup found that 90% of those polled said they would give up 23% of their salary for an opportunity that provides more meaningful work. This statistic is a powerful example of how much some employees are willing to sacrifice for a more rewarding work experience.
Employees' job choices at the start of their careers can be influenced by this desire, as evidenced by more college graduates selecting careers in the arts and social services over those in business and finance. Jobs in healthcare, science, social services, education and government are often seen as meaningful vocations, but recruiters must recruit for the positions that need filling — regardless of how meaningful the work is. Employers can make up for what some jobs lack in inherent meaning by offering community volunteer opportunities, supporting causes and promoting philanthropy via corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Although several surveys have confirmed that many want meaningful work, more money is still a priority for job seekers. Workers in an employee-driven labor market can be choosier about the positions they apply for, and that includes a desire for jobs offering the best pay. In fact, about half of all employers are now offering higher salaries in the competition for talent, as well.