Wendy Waters
by Wendy Waters
Mon Jan 11th 2010 at 9:30am UTC

Career Development Opportunities Trump Pay


Forty percent of employees in a survey were more interested in career development than pay and benefits.

From the Saturday Globe and Mail:

Career development prospects top the criteria for job candidates considering a new employer, a new survey finds.

Forty percent of 1,300 respondents to a survey by staffing service Right Management Inc. said the potential for career development is the most important factor when choosing a new boss.

That was followed by work-life balance (21 percent); innovative workplace (15 percent); and competitive pay and benefits (12 percent). Only 8 percent cared most about having good rapport with their manager.

My thought here is the answer likely depends upon where you are in your life. Certainly it makes sense for younger knowledge workers to prioritize career development opportunities as an investment — pay will come later. For those with young families (especially women, as per last-week’s discussion) work-life balance may be more important. And later in life the paycheck may trump everything as retirement looms and university-aged children are needing help.

What would you prioritize?

3 Responses to “Career Development Opportunities Trump Pay”

  1. Daniel Carins Says:

    I wonder how many Chief Execs and managers would consider a pay cut in order to recruit the best talent?

    I wonder if this survey was commissioned by managers eager to make job seekers in a high-unemployment environment even more obsequious?

    Why should labour be altruistic when capital finds it so difficult?

    There’s a massive danger that this kind of talk simply exacerbates unsustainable income differentials, under the guise of being “efficient”. One person’s efficiency is another person’s pay rise, and we know who’s going to be benefitting in this instance. Sure, pay isn’t everything, but if that’s the case, why do the rich keep getting richer?

  2. Mike L. Says:

    Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” is at work here. Once people have satisfied a lower “need”, such as enough food, they move on to the next higher need. More food does not satisfy the next higher need above food, nor do more pay and benefits satisfy the next higher needs above them. Many of us are at the top of the hierarchy, the need for “self-actualization”, which is expressed for some as “career development”.

  3. Wendy Says:

    Great discussion. Clearly better definition of these and other common workplace terms might be required every time you see them. “Career development” “flexibility” “work life balance” mean different things to different individuals and employers.