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Does a pay rise change what you value at work?

Many people assume that a pay rise would make them value their job more, but this is not necessarily true

A study from Princeton University found that happiness increased with income; however, this stops at around $75,000 (£60,000) per year. This proves that money can buy happiness – but only to a certain extent – and employers are wondering whether monthly salaries are affecting employees’ workplace priorities.

The most important work values

The most important work value is culture, according to a study from Glassdoor. The study found that the culture of an organisation has the largest effect on employee satisfaction, accounting for 22.1% of the votes.

The runners-up were quality senior leadership and career opportunities, with monthly salary still not getting a look in; in fact, compensation and benefits only accounted for 12% of the vote, indicating that employees prioritise a meaningful career over their salaries. They also aim to find a company that has a friendly and positive culture. This could be because employees want to work for a company that has similar values and attitudes to their own, enabling them to feel that they fit in well.

How this is affected by a pay rise

Interestingly, the study found that as their wage rises, the employee cares more about the culture and values of the company. 21.6% of the workers earning less than $40,000 prioritise culture and values, compared with 23.4% earning more than $120,000 per year.

This may be because their wage becomes less important as an employee earns more. They no longer need to worry about financial problems, leaving them free to focus on the culture of the company for which they work.

Is the wage more important than the culture?

Many employers assume that the number one priority for their employees is the wage; however, Princeton University’s research found that very few employees prioritise their wage!

While employees still class their pay and benefits as important, they focus on other factors more, such as quality senior leadership and a positive culture. As the employee’s wage rises, their pay and benefits become even less of a priority. This indicates that employers should focus on creating a positive work environment rather than over-paying employees if they want to see their employee satisfaction level rise.

The truth is that people do not work purely to make money – they also want to work for a company that has similar goals and dreams to themselves and a positive work culture.

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