How much of your lifetime earnings would you sacrifice to work a job you find always meaningful? The answer is 23 percent, assuming you’re like the 2,000 workers who were surveyed in a recent report from Harvard Business Review.
It’s a steep number, no doubt, but it’s not exactly surprising in light of data showing how American workers have, over the past decade, been increasingly expressing a desire for more meaningful work. The new report, authored by Shawn Achor, Andrew Reece, Gabriella Rosen Kellerman and Alexi Robichaux, builds upon past research on workplace attitudes in an attempt to quantify the changing ways in which Americans prioritize meaning in their careers.
Surveying 2,285 American professionals across 26 industries and a variety of pay levels, the report showed:
- More than 9 out of 10 employees were willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work.
- Only 1 in 20 respondents said their job provided the most meaningful work they could imagine having.
- On average, the respondents said their jobs were about half as meaningful as they could be.
- People in service-oriented professions, such as medicine, education and social work, reported higher levels of workplace meaning than did administrative support and transportation workers.
The authors of the new report suggest that employers who provide meaningful jobs to employees will see bottom-line benefits.