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March 22, 2001
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>Men and women assign different values to various motivational factors in the workplace, according to a recent Watson Wyatt survey. The study also found that various types of workers can have radically different ideas about what they look for in their jobs. Compensation, benefits, skill development and promotion opportunities, and job security are at the top for just about every category of worker, but the order differs dramatically from group to group.

Men, for example, see compensation as their most important motivator, while women value employee benefits at the top of their workplace needs. Women rank skill development opportunities second and compensation third in order of importance.

High earners, those making more than $100,000 a year, rank compensation at the top of 13 other workplace attributes. Professionals value opportunities to develop skills most highly. Those making less than $100,000, including clerical workers, see job security as the top attribute, followed by benefits. Most groups except for workers under 30 put benefits as being very important. Younger workers rank skill development opportunities, promotion chances, compensation and vacations as their top needs.

Soft workplace factors

A recent New York Times article also reported on a Randstad North America poll of soft and hard workplace factors. The top "soft" workplace factor was "whether they liked the
people with whom they work with. " Other highly rated soft benefits included a pleasant work environment and an easy commute.

Health insurance was a standout "hard benefit" in the Randstad poll. Pay was the next highly rated, followed distantly by stock options, profit sharing or other types of financial

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