What Workplace Elements Matter Most to Employees?

What Workplace Elements Matter Most to Employees?

Glassdoor just completed a study of more than 615,000 Glassdoor users who reported their salaries and ranked the following factors in the workplace:

  • Career opportunities
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Culture and values
  • Senior leadership
  • Work-life balance
  • Business outlook

These factors were ranked in order of importance to the employee and placed in a corresponding graph to show the distribution overall, as well as by salary levels. Perhaps the most surprising result was that compensation and benefits came in last overall at 12%. Instead, the most important factor for job satisfaction was the company’s culture and values at 22%.

This factor, however, changed based on how much people earned. The study showed that some workplace factors become more important as pay rises, while others become less important to overall employee satisfaction. According to the study, less than 10% of those making more than $120,000 per year said that compensation and benefits were integral to their overall job satisfaction. Equally surprising, only 12.8% of those making less than $40,000 said that the amount of their compensation and benefits gave them job satisfaction.

The factors that seemed less important to the high earners were work-life balance and the company’s business outlook over the next 6 months. Experts at Glassdoor attribute this finding to the fact that the bigger the paycheck, the more likely employees were to spend more time at work.

Interest in how well the company is doing also falls as the size of the employee’s paycheck increases. Glassdoor offered speculation that this could be due to the fact that lower-income workers are more concerned about economic insecurity. Glassdoor also speculated that higher-income workers are mostly employed in larger, more stable companies, and this could explain the findings.

Regardless of earnings, what seems to matter most to all employees, are culture and values. This is especially true of higher earning employees. This finding ties into senior leadership, because they are often charged with setting the stage for culture and values. The study seems to support that as pay rises, employees shift their priorities toward longer-term careers, working under great leaders, and spending their days in a workplace with positive culture and values.


The only data that might might have proven illuminating would have been to look at employees age groupings, to see if there were any influences on these factors from an age perspective. To see more study findings, you can click on the study here: https://www.glassdoor.com/research/more-money-change-value-at-work/.

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