June 9, 2008
What employees want
In my first post on this blog, I mused about what motivates us to do the work we do. Conveniently, employment agency Randstad USA just released its annual World of Work study, which analyzes what drives employee satisfaction.
The number one way to keep employees happy probably won't come as a surprise. Seventy-two percent put competitive pay at the top of their list. Health insurance came in second, with 66 percent saying it's key to their happiness at work.
Flexible work hours, bonuses based on company profits, increased paid time off, and opportunity for advancement filled slots three through six on the "what workers want" list, with just about one in two employees citing each of these as key to their career happiness. Curiously (at least to me), only a third of employees said telecommuting was important to them and a quarter of employees placed importance on family leave.
What doesn't surprise me is that Randstad found that different generations prefer different benefits. For Gen X and Gen Y, increases in paid time off, opportunity for advancement, incentives like trips and gift certificates, family leave, and online training are at the top of the wish list. For Boomers and Matures, financial perks like competitive pay, health insurance, stocks, and profit sharing are king.
What did surprise me, though, is the study's finding that job satisfaction is up 4 percent this year. I asked Randstad spokesperson Lelia Howze why she thought this was.
"People are reporting this because they are realizing that their jobs aren't so bad after all, in light of the current economic hardships," she said.
What do you think? Given soaring gas and food prices, is your job looking a bit rosier these days?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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