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September 14, 2004
Workers: We'll Take Less Money for More Benefits, Balance
As
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the job market heats up, more workers are saying an offer of more money won't be enough to make them choose one employer over another, according to a recent survey.

If presented with multiple job offers, 39% of respondents said they would definitely accept—and 57% might accept—a job offering a lesser compensation and benefits package, but better corporate culture, work-life balance, career/leadership development opportunities or other quality-of-life enhancements. Only 4% would definitely accept the job with the most generous compensation and benefits, regardless of other factors.

The survey of 946 recently-outplaced professionals was conducted by Lee Hecht Harrison, a global career management services company headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

"What we're seeing is a fundamental shift in what is valued by prospective employees," observed Lee Hecht Harrison Executive Vice President Bernadette Kenny. "While compensation will always be important, workers today are placing less emphasis on monetary rewards and more on benefits and programs that contribute to professional development and work/life balance."

Among those who definitely would or might accept a lesser compensation and benefits package, the plurality (47%) would be willing to accept 5-10% less than the top offer. Kenny noted, however, that nearly a quarter would be willing to accept more than 15% less. "Not surprisingly," she said, "the more respondents made in their last position, the more receptive they were to a larger cut in compensation."

Asked approximately how much less per year would they would be willing to accept in exchange for other aspects they value in an employer, respondents answered as follows:

  • < 5% less than top offer - 9%
  • 6-10% less than top offer - 47%
  • 11-15% less than top offer - 22%
  • 16-20% less than top offer - 11%
  • 21-25% less than top offer - 5%
  • >25% less than top offer - 6%
In addition to compensation and benefits, 93% of respondents said they seek opportunities for advancement; 87% for capable/respected management, and flexible work hours, respectively; 67% for employee participation in decision-making; and 60% for challenging job responsibilities.

With more than 180 offices in 36 countries, Lee Hecht Harrison is a global performance leader in career and leadership consulting providing outplacement, leadership development, executive coaching and career development services.

Lee Hecht Harrison website

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