The most important factor in choosing a job is the quest for ‘meaningful work’, with pay and benefits coming second, and flexible working coming last.
These are the findings of a survey by financial recruitment company Core-Asset Consulting, which surveyed professionals working across the financial, accounting and legal sectors in Scotland. People were asked to rank the importance of eight factors in choosing a job: career progression; company reputation; location/length of commute; flexible working; meaningful work; pay and benefits; work-life balance; working culture.
‘Meaningful work’ was most frequently ranked as the top reason in people choosing a job, while ‘pay and benefits’ were the most commonly cited second, third and fourth factors, and ‘flexible working’ was most frequently cited as the least important factor.
Commenting on the survey, Betsy Williamson, managing director of Core-Asset Consulting, said: “It may come as a surprise to many that ‘meaningful work’ is the most common number one factor in people choosing a job, particularly as this is a survey of financial, accounting and legal professionals.
“But however you interpret the term ‘meaningful work’, it seems clear that white collar professionals are now seeking much more from their career than material rewards. The implications for employers is far-reaching. To retain valuable employees, companies need to clearly articulate the driving purpose of its firm beyond the simple pursuit of profit, and how a particular department, team and individual fits into this bigger picture. This can include things such as the creation of a financially secure future for customers, tackling environmental issues and transforming local communities.
“Failure to do so not only means employers will have staff retention issues, they will also struggle to attract the very best talent. It’s very much a candidate-driven market now – particularly in hard-to-fill areas such as risk and compliance. Companies that recognise the importance of ‘meaningful work’ will do better in attracting and retaining the best people.
“But all this comes with a caveat: ‘over-selling’ roles comes with a similar risk of creating disillusioned employees. A delicate balance must be struck between aspiration and authenticity.”