What do people look for in a job?

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What motivates employees when hunting for a job?

A human psychology theory from Frank Herzberg tries to explain why salary is critical in keeping employees satisfied at work. According to him, basic salary was important as a survival need because it protects against employee dissatisfaction. It could not, however, strongly motivate. He did note that recognition, promotional opportunities and self-worth are key motivators.

A study conducted by the European Value Study (EVS), a large survey research program that has studied basic values for almost 40 years provides insight into what people in 16 European countries think. This initiative has asked several questions regarding important aspects of the perceptions of work. GORBI has been a part of the project since 2008 and is the data provider for Georgia and Azerbaijan for the most recent year.

In order to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and job commitment of employees businesses must satisfy the needs of employees by providing good working conditions. But what do employees consider as good working conditions?

Chart 1. Important aspects in a job (%, mentioned)

Source: European Value Study, 2017

As we can see from Chart 1, in the countries surveyed, remuneration is the most important factor. By common sense, this finding is not surprising, since the vast majority of people wouldn’t do their jobs if they weren’t paid for their work. As we see in Georgia’s example, achieving something seems to be the second most important factor in a job.

It is even more interesting to look at the percentage of people who think that achieving something is important in a job by their age. In all 16 countries surveyed, younger people pay more attention to this aspect of work and in Georgia this trend is even stronger – 69 percent of people aged 50 and older in Georgia think that that achieving something is important, compared to 87 percent of those aged 15-29. This is also a noteworthy result, since younger people are more ambitious and want to achieve something in their work to advance in their careers.

The logic of these results is in line with a study conducted by Pew Research in 2011 in the United States where among those aged 18 to 34 nearly nine-in-ten (88%) say they either have or earn enough money now or expect they will in the future. Only 9% say they don’t think they will ever have enough to live the life they want. Adults ages 35 and older are much less optimistic—28% say they don’t anticipate making enough money in the future. The fact that for younger ones are more hopeful about success in the future seems to be associated with the desire of young workers to achieve something in their job so that they can become more successful in the future.

Graph 1. People who think that Achieving Something is important in the job (%)

Source: European Value Study, 2017

In a country like Georgia where the official unemployment rate is around 14 percent and around 800, 000 people are living below the poverty line, finding a well-paying job with good hours, generous holidays and the opportunity to achieve something is a luxury. Nevertheless, it is still important for employers to know, what people value in their jobs, since satisfied employees are always important for an organization to ensure the maximum commitment and performance. If an employee feels happy with their company and work, they consistently contribute more to their organizations. This idea has also been verified by a survey conducted in Croatia in large and medium size companies where it was found that job satisfaction determines organizational performance, rather than organizational performance determining job satisfaction.

GORBI is an exclusive member of the Gallup International research network and has more than two decades of experience in survey research (gorbi.com)


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