While getting paid is probably the main reason most people work, it is no longer a top priority for employees when deciding whether to stay in their job or go out in search of a new one.
So what is most important for job seekers in job market today? Work life balance It is the highest factor for workers across every generation except baby boomers, according to New a report From The Muse, a platform for career development and research.
Of all the generations with a foot in the workplace, Gen Zers (often defined as people born between 1996 and 2012) place the highest premium on a healthy work-life balance when searching for a new job. Among this group, 60% said it was the most important factor in evaluating a new job opportunity, while 40% said compensation was the most important.
Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) have also expressed a preference for Positive work-life balance over income, but by a smaller margin, according to the study.
“The pandemic has made a lot of people realize that life is too short to do something you hate,” Kathryn Mincio, founder and CEO of Muse, told CBS MoneyWatch.
But what drives workers, more specifically, to take the fly rope and bail out of their jobs? The Muse found unhealthy and unsupportive work environments to be the main culprit.
About 34% of respondents said they felt motivated to look for a new job because of their employers’ toxic workplace culture. Just over a quarter also cited insufficient flexibility by management or lackluster work-from-home policies. Other reasons for moving forward included mounting layoffs, the specter of future job losses, salary freezes, and a lack of diversity.
Among generations, millennials were the least tolerant of toxic workplaces, followed by Generation X workers.
When the survey was conducted in February 2023, three-quarters of the nearly 7,000 respondents said they planned to look for a new job within the next 12 months. This is up from 65% in 2024.
“A lot of the comments I’ve read say that the tables have turned and employers are back in the driving seat. And while that’s true to some extent, the sentiment data we found suggests that many employees — especially those who think they have too many employment options — You don’t see it that way at all,” said Mingyu. “They still expect to make choices and expect to be able to prioritize what they want out of their career, versus the narrative that the economy is bad right now, and they should take what we offer them.”
Employees expect “much more”
Of course, a decent salary is still important. But work-life balance now has a slight advantage over compensation, with 3% more respondents describing it as their top priority.
Overall, 70% of respondents said they rate a company’s work-life balance to determine if it is right for them, followed by 67% of respondents who rated pay as the most important metric. Other factors that workers consider when selecting an employer include:
- 59% – opportunities to learn and grow
- 59% – The culture of the office and how well colleagues like it
- 58% – job perks and benefits
- 47% – job security
- 41% – the leadership of the company
Additional data from The Muse showed that job listings for remote roles receive three times as many applications as job postings linked to geographic locations.
Although both women and men place work-life balance at the top of the list among the criteria they use to evaluate a new job, more female workers, or 76%, rate it as the number one factor, compared to 65% for men, accordingly. to Moses.
“There was a greater common understanding that work means bartering your work for pay,” said Mincio. “It was a very straightforward deal, and the dominant narrative was that you give your time and effort for money. But over the past several years, we’ve seen an employee base expect employers to give more.”