Survey Says: Corporate Culture Is Worth More Than a Big Salary

It seems that more job seekers are putting company values ahead of their paychecks.

Glassdoor conducted a global survey of more than 5,000 adults from the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany to understand how employees and companies value a business’s mission and corporate culture.

A majority of adults surveyed said they valued a company’s culture above salary in regard to job satisfaction.

In fact, 70% of job seekers would not apply to a company unless it aligned with their own personal values.

According to Amanda Stansell, Glassdoor’s senior economic research analyst, the results reflect the broader trend that job seekers as a whole are attracted to companies with a clearly defined mission that they can support.

With the U.S. unemployment riding at 3.7% and the global unemployment rate at 4.95%, Stansell added that this labor market trend reflects that “job seekers are in the driver’s seat.”

Where the road diverges depends on the age of job seekers. In the U.S., the survey showed that this emphasis on company culture and purpose is especially important to millennials, which the survey defined as people 18-34 years old.

This data point is significant because millennials make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, as reported by a PEW Research study. Stansell explained that as “the line between work and personal life becomes more blended” for young employees, meaningful work becomes an important motivation.

This integration between work and personal life is a product of the millennial generation growing up with technology, Stansell says. Many business leaders see this push for purpose-driven careers through technology as an invigorating development.

At Fortune’s CEO Initiative conference, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that the next generation of employees want to make sure companies are “committed to improving the state of the world…and we’re just getting a taste of the future.”

“You have these very young people—some who haven’t even entered the workforce yet—getting coupled with these next generation technologies and what they’re doing is bringing them together to create this fifth industrial revolution which is all about actually saving the planet,” Benioff told Fortune CEO Alan Murray.

As the leader of one of the top companies on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, Benioff also pointed to the responsibility of business leaders to use this technology not just for millennial employees.

He emphasized the value of “re-skilling” employees to bring everyone into the future and create a sense of unity and support within a business’s mission.

But using technology to unify generations of workers is something that contributes to how a company can build a healthy workplace culture.

“When we’re thinking about culture, it goes down to the day to day environment and how people interact with each other,” Stansell says. “People aren’t receiving a paycheck everyday, but they are experiencing culture everyday as they work their 9-5 job.”

Stansell explained that there is a reason that 74% of employees who were surveyed said they would look for a job elsewhere if the company’s culture deteriorated.

“Even if the company culture is good, it can change, especially if they aren’t reactive and constantly measuring employee satisfaction and actively working to improve it,” she added.

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