Identifying with your job is part of the cultural fabric of American life. Although we are more than what we do for work, the first thing that often comes up in conversation after meeting someone new is “So, what do you do for a living?” The curiosity that drives this type of small talk isn’t that distant from the curiosity that powers Josie. Perhaps the better question is “Why do you identify with what you do for a living?” To answer this question, we need to understand what distinguishes the United States from the rest of the world when it comes to job values, so we set out to find some answers.
Increase employee retention by focusing on job values
We surveyed 100 participants in the U.S., asking them to rank what they valued most when it comes to work. The answers were surprising (depending on where in the world you are reading this from).
Money talks, and that’s evident in the 20.5% of Americans who prioritize revenue and income over other aspects of career fulfillment like work-life balance or feeling a sense of belonging at work. (Fig. 1)
For employers, this means that job retention relies heavily upon salary and opportunities for promotion. Once the anxiety of income is taken care of, we see a cultural pattern among employees who value their time above all else. When we removed pay from the survey options available, 31% of participants identified having more flexibility and time in and out of work as the most important quality that drives their career decisions (“Work-life balance”).