Work-Location Flexibility Makes Women & Gen X Workers Happier Than Salary; Opposite is True for Men & Millennials

— More Than a Third of American Workers Say Employers Do Not Promote Mental Health or Offer Resources —

— More Women Than Men Say Comp & Benefits Would Make Them Leave Current Job for Another —

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#EmployeeFirst–Work-location flexibility makes women and middle-aged Americans happier about their jobs when compared with compensation and benefits, a great boss, positive culture, and career-growth prospects, according to the 2022 Employee Sentiment Survey.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of MSH by Directions Research, found that working women and Americans ages 42 to 57 years old, also known as Generation X, say the ability to work in hybrid and remote locations brings more happiness to their jobs than other major factors.

“This finding is right in line with what we know about working parents during the pandemic. Because children had to stay home from school much more often during the pandemic (due to school closures, stricter illness policies, etc.), hours and location flexibility have become more crucial to working parents than ever before,” said Jennifer Shinall, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s School of Law whose research focuses on discrimination, particularly in the areas of gender and disability. “The need for greater flexibility in the workplace is especially critical for women, who remain more likely to serve as the primary caretakers of children.”

At the same time, more working men and millennials, a generation defined by people 26 to 41 years old, say compensation and benefits make them happier than work-location flexibility.

“The pandemic changed the course of what makes people happiest about their jobs, and preferences and priorities have shifted in what is now a new hiring paradigm for employers,” said Oz Rashid, founder and chief executive officer of MSH, a global technology and talent solutions company that collaborates with Vanderbilt on student-led projects at the school’s innovation center called The Wond’ry. “As demand for high-quality talent continues, employers of all shapes and sizes are evolving to accommodate changing preferences, and that also requires adopting new technologies to better understand the profiles of the people you’re hiring.

“More hiring leaders are seeking solutions to get a better understanding of the needs and wants of job candidates to ultimately hire people with more certainty,” Oz said.

Mental Health

When survey participants were asked whether their employer promoted mental health and offered resources for support, an average of 36 percent of employed Americans said “no.” That number was slightly higher for millennials, when compared with Gen Z (ages 18 to 25) and Gen X respondents.

On a regional basis, 67 percent of Americans in the West said their employer promoted mental health and offered resources, compared with 64 percent in the South and Northeast, and 61 percent in the Midwest.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Looking at top reasons to stay or leave a job, 50 percent of employed American women said compensation and benefits has the greatest influence on them when compared with work-location flexibility, career-growth prospects, and a great boss and positive culture.

“The finding is hardly surprising since additional compensation can help workers purchase benefits in the marketplace that are not provided as fringe benefits by their job (for example, childcare),” Professor Shinall said.

Salary was not as significant of a factor when deciding whether to stay or leave a job for Gen Z (35 percent) but still more important than career-growth prospects (25 percent).

“People work to earn money, and compensation and benefits are usually the most important variable when deciding to leave a job for a better opportunity,” said Landon Cortenbach, chief financial officer at MSH. “You also have to consider the demographic of your audience, and while better salaries will always carry a lot of power, it is the sum of these variables that must be factored when analyzing why people leave jobs.”

By the Numbers

Following is a look at other data highlights from the Employee Sentiment Survey:

  • More women than men said a great boss and positive culture make them happiest about their job.
  • Career growth prospects matter more to Gen Z than millennials in terms of what makes them happier about a job.
  • Millennials and baby boomers align on compensation and benefits making them happier about their jobs when compared with other major factors.
  • Millennials (46 percent) are more inclined than Gen Z (35 percent) to leave a current job for another based on compensation and benefits.
  • More Gen X American workers say a great boss and positive culture make them happiest about their jobs than millennials.

Employee Sentiment Survey Methodology

The Employee Sentiment Survey was conducted in September 2022 among a nationally representative sample of 1,023 employed U.S. adults 18+, providing a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. The survey was commissioned by MSH and fielded by Direction Research’s Xcelerant Rapid Online Omnibus.

About MSH

MSH is a global technology and talent solutions provider that empowers people and the places they work to thrive. The company’s leading-edge services and support provide organizations with the business intelligence and high-quality, vetted candidates they need to succeed at a speed and scale others cannot in 35+ markets across three continents.

By engaging MSH’s human-centered and collaborative platform, hiring leaders and talent professionals are empowered to find the highest quality candidates, while putting the candidate experience front and center.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., MSH is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.


Media Contact and To View Full Survey Results

Evan Pondel


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