5 ways our jobs may mean more to us than money

Whether it’s valuing a work/life balance over a high salary, or job satisfaction over earnings, we explore what means more to us when it comes to our careers

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For many of us, our careers, the workplace and what will become of our jobs in the future were all thrown into uncertainty during 2020. One of the biggest factors at play was the coronavirus pandemic – the side effects of which have seen many of us scrutinise our working lives more closely.

Through this new lens, we’re seeing how turbulent times may be inspiring people to re-evaluate the way in which they live and work, and what they consider the most important.

An Exploration of Worth

These changing attitudes, behaviours and opinions have been captured in research we undertook with YouGov in August and September 2020 for our research report, An Exploration of Worth. Taking into account the views of over 8,000 UK adults, the research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to provide in-depth insight into how consumers define worth.

At a time when many are taking stock and re-evaluating their priorities, the report also provides a snapshot of what we as a nation perceive to be most worthwhile in our financial and working lives, and raises interesting questions about what that might mean for the future.

1. Job satisfaction over earnings

Our report found that, for most of us, job satisfaction is worth more than what is written on our pay cheque.

Given the choice, almost two thirds (63%) of the UK workers we surveyed believe that having a job that’s enjoyable is worth more to them than how much money they earn, suggesting that many of us value our jobs as more than just how much money we take home at the end of a working day.

2. Wellbeing before wealth

Our research demonstrates that money isn’t what most commonly impacts people’s overall sense of wellbeing. According to our survey’s respondents, relationships with partners, friends and family influence more of us than our possessions or how much we earn do, suggesting it’s the things money can’t buy that have the greatest worth.

While wealth might not define many of those surveyed, earnings do still impact our wellbeing, it seems. Although money isn’t everything, some consumers do believe it still plays a significant role in our lives, as 59% of those surveyed said that the amount they earn influences their overall sense of wellbeing – positively for 43% of people, negatively for 16%.


3. Work/life balance is top priority

If we had to choose a new job tomorrow, maintaining a good work-life balance (including flexible working and working from home) would be the top priority for many people.

In fact, out of those surveyed as part of our research, ‘maintaining a good work-life balance’ was the most popular choice of all options (at 28%) suggesting that - for some - there are intangible aspects of our working lives that come before money.

4. Retiring when we like is a ‘must-have’ for some

While we consider our jobs as important to us, our retirement prospects are, too.

Our research found that being able to retire as soon as possible is one of the UK’s top five financial priorities. On top of this, being able to retire when we want was a ‘must have’ for one in five people .

Perhaps this is with good reason, as those who are retired are more likely to have a greater sense of self-worth (a nine or 10 out of 10) than those who are working.

Almost a quarter of people (24%) who are retired rate their feelings about themselves as a nine or 10 out of 10, in comparison to around 13% of people who are working and 14% of the general population.

5. Adding value to society is important

Influenced perhaps by the timing of our survey – during the summer of 2020 – key workers in particular feel that their work adds value to society. A striking 81% of healthcare professionals felt they were adding value to society through their work. Likewise, those working in education, scientific research and personal care services were all more likely to recognise that their work adds value to society than the general working population.

It’s probably not surprising that those who are most likely to feel their jobs add value to society are our healthcare professionals, teachers, scientists and carers. And teachers seem to enjoy their jobs too, with 74% of education workers we surveyed saying they liked what they do for a living.

So although the majority of UK workers (65%) would happily give up their jobs if they won the lottery, job satisfaction is still worth more to many of us than how much we earn.


The content in this article is for information only and is not advice. All content in this article was accurate on the date of publication shown above.