Hiring & Recruiting

Salary Aside, What Matters Most to Workers

Beyond the paycheck, what factors are critical for candidates considering job offers?

Source: BrianAJackson / iStock / Getty

According to a new survey from staffing firm Accountemps, a Robert Half company, more than one-quarter of workers (26 percent) say vacation time is most important. Corporate culture (24 percent) and career advancement potential (21 percent) come in close behind.

Perhaps surprising, work-from-home options isn’t in the top three; only 11 percent say it matters most. Professional development/training also ranks fairly low, at 9 percent.

The survey includes responses from more than 2,700 workers across 27 major U.S. cities.

Additional Findings

The survey also suggests geographical differences, and differences with regard to age. Findings of note include:

  • Employees in Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit value personal time off most.
  • Professionals in Boston, Des Moines, and Salt Lake City say corporate culture holds the greatest appeal.
  • Workers in Dallas, Houston, and New York consider career advancement potential the most important factor in job decisions.
  • Workers ages 55 and older are more interested in paid time off (29 percent) than those ages 35 to 54 (27 percent) and 18 to 34 (22 percent).
  • Workers ages 55 and older are also more interested in corporate culture (29 percent) than those ages 35 to 54 (23 percent) and 18 to 34 (21 percent).
  • Professionals ages 18 to 34 prefer career advancement potential (30 percent) above all else, compared to those ages 35 to 54 (22 percent) and 55 and older (10 percent).
  • Female respondents say vacation time (27 percent) is the key factor in employment decisions, while men say corporate culture (25 percent) is most critical.

“In today’s employment market, companies need to put their best foot forward when making job offers and, beyond salary, highlight benefits that could entice candidates,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Professionals want to be hired by organizations that support work-life balance and have values that align with their own. An attractive corporate culture can go a long way toward recruiting and retaining top talent.”

At the same time, he recommends that job seekers know what they value.

“Job seekers should make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves before evaluating employment opportunities. Remember, companies may not be able to offer you everything. It’s best to decide ahead of time what’s most important to you,” Steinitz said.