For most employees, money doesn't necessarily buy happiness: Nearly 45 percent of surveyed Americans say having work they enjoy is their greatest professional priority, while about one-third consider job security, work-life balance and good benefits equally valuable, a new study finds.
The research, conducted by the Pew Research Center, shows that opportunities for advancement, a job that helps society and high pay are all lower on their list of priorities.
Although the study found that men and women value the same job characteristics in virtually equal proportions, generations differ significantly in what they are looking for from their work. In most instances, these differences in attitudes appear to be due to family and work circumstances related to age. Specifically, employees in the first decades of their working lives — millennials and Gen Xers — place much more value on opportunities for advancement than do baby boomers, who are at or near the peak of their careers.
Younger workers, who are at the time of their lives when most people marry and start raising a family, are also more likely to place a greater priority on values related to family and children. For example, millennials and Gen Xers place a higher value on jobs that offer them time off to deal with child care or family issues.
The study also discovered that baby boomers are the least likely generation interested in being managers. The researchers believe that because many millennials are comparatively recent entrants into the workforce, they are easily the most ambitious generation. About two-thirds of these young adults said they want to be the boss or a top executive someday, compared with just half of Gen Xers and 26 percent of baby boomers.
The study also found that there are more gender differences among men and women regarding their desires to be in charge. Specifically, 52 percent of men, compared to 38 percent of women, aspire to be a boss one day.
The study revealed a similar pattern emerges when children are factored into the analysis. Overall, fathers are more likely than mothers to seek a top executive job, regardless of whether they have children younger than age 18.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.