Title versus salary: What workers want

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Job perksThere are often more perks to a job than a paycheck, as employers make an effort to retain their top talent and entice new prospects. From offices to flexible schedules to company cars, employees are enjoying more job incentives than ever, though they still have wish lists for what their dream workplace looks like.

A new CareerBuilder survey asked more than 3,900 full-time workers nationwide which job factors are most important to them to find out what makes an employee satisfied with their job and workplace. While the recovering economy may give the impression that workers can’t be too choosy, employers don’t necessarily share this view. Thirty-two percent of employers reported that top performers left their organization in 2012 and 39 percent are concerned that they’ll lose top talent in 2013. While most workers (66 percent) stated that they are generally satisfied with their job, 25 percent said they will change jobs in 2013 or 2014.

What can employers do to retain their top performers and employees ask for to create a more enjoyable workplace? The top answers from those surveyed focused on salary, on-site privileges and creating more job-related opportunities.

Title versus salary
It seems that workers are more interested in promotions that include a salary bump than a new title. Though the survey made it clear that upward mobility is a key factor in job satisfaction and employee retention, an overwhelming 88 percent of workers surveyed said salary matters more than title and 55 percent of workers said having a certain title isn’t important.

Other factors that outrank job title in what is most important to workers are:

  • Flexible schedule – 59 percent
  • Being able to make a difference – 48 percent
  • Challenging work – 35 percent
  • Ability to work from home – 33 percent
  • Academic reimbursement – 18 percent
  • Having an office – 17 percent
  • Company car – 14 percent

Dream job benefits
Who hasn’t wished to have a little more comfort in their job? On-site luxuries are just a dream for some, but these gratuities may be what keeps a worker happy at their current company. Twenty-six percent of workers said that providing special perks is an effective way to improve employee retention.

When asked to identify one perk that would make their workplace more satisfying, among the highest-scoring perks were early dismissals, convenient gym access and casual dress:

  • Half-day Fridays – 40 percent
  • On-site fitness center – 20 percent
  • Ability to wear jeans – 18 percent
  • Daily catered lunches – 17 percent
  • Massages – 16 percent
  • Nap room – 12 percent
  • Rides to and from work – 12 percent
  • Snack cart that comes around the office – 8 percent
  • Private restroom – 7 percent
  • On-site daycare – 6 percent

Perks to prevent employee turnover
When it comes to employee retention, sometimes the job perks offered end up paying for themselves. Seventy percent reported that increasing salaries is the best way to boost employee retention, and 58 percent of workers pointed to better benefits.

Other actions workers said employers should take to reduce voluntary turnover include:

  • Provide flexible schedules – 51 percent
  • Increase employee recognition (awards, cash prizes, company trips) – 50 percent
  • Ask employees what they want and put feedback into action – 48 percent
  • Increase training and learning opportunities – 35 percent
  • Hire additional workers to ease workloads – 22 percent
  • Provide academic reimbursement – 22 percent
  • Carve out specific career paths and promote more – 21 percent
  • Institute a more casual dress code – 14 percent

Though job perk wish lists may clue employers in to what makes workers happy, what can a boss realistically do to create a great workplace and satisfied employees? “What determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a difference and yes, even special perks, can go a long way,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we’re seeing work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization.”

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