Compared to only a few hundred years ago, life is relatively good. No longer is the structure of society’s workforce predominantly agrarian or other physical labor.
Instead, the workforce has evolved to be more knowledge-based. Struggling farmers of the past would likely envy our daily lives, but with low rates of job satisfaction today, we wonder if the current workforce actually envies history’s farmer or if there is some other underlying answer?
In 1943, Abraham Maslow published his theory of what motivates humanity. Because of this theory, we understand at what level money no longer contributes to happiness — the level where it no longer fulfills our physiological and safety needs.
After these needs have been met, we continue up the hierarchy towards the need to belong in society, achieve prestige, and actualize full potential.
So, what role does salary play in the happiness of employees? It might seem like salary is the most important factor of employee satisfaction and meaningful work, and let’s not underestimate its importance in overall job satisfaction, but the data from a Lexington Law survey indicates otherwise.
60% of Americans Would Take Half the Salary for a Job They Love
This is a startling revelation. It seems that Americans are desperate for a job that brings them a sense of satisfaction and joy that is entirely removed from their financial well-being. It seems that more and more Americans are accepting the fact, or possibly learning first hand, that money doesn’t buy happiness.
In fact, 38 percent of Americans reported they desire a career that aligns with their individual passions. This speaks volumes to the values of the average American. It may seem like materialism and consumerism are top of mind for most Americans, but with the overarching desire for achievement, it’s apparent Americans have a deeper desire for meaningful work.
Almost 70% of Americans Favor Benefits and Culture Over Pay
Company culture is a huge factor for many employees when considering leaving their current job or joining a new company. Famous Silicon Valley startups have brought exemplary company culture into the mainstream, which catapulted others to follow suit.
Offering benefits and perks that are outside the normal office experience can bode well for job satisfaction and employee retention. These perks can be as small as free coffee and snacks in the break room, or a fully operational commercial kitchen with free food at any time of the day or night, as Google is famous for.
Work from home opportunities and relaxed PTO policies are also great ways to keep employees happy. The following visual from Lexington Law can offer more insights about how to boost employee satisfaction in the workplace.