When looking for a new job, we often have to choose between high salary and job satisfaction. Although there are a handful of opportunities that can secure the both financial and non-financial benefits, in reality we need to find the right balance between the two. Some job-seekers believe that the job doesn’t have to bring happiness and satisfaction and see it as the source of income solely. The others strive for friendly environment, challenging tasks and a good boss, even if these conditions entail a lower pay.
Both points of view are influenced by personal values, spending habits and many other factors. Today, the resume writers wanted are going to expand on how different factors influence our happiness at work and the quality of life in general.
Statistics behind the income and job satisfaction
- According to the recent study, a household income equaling $75,000 a year is the turning point and beyond it money does nothing for happiness and enjoyment. In other words, if you earn below this amount, you’ll likely feel dissatisfied with your income and put financial reasons above all. However, if your income is any higher, money doesn’t longer contribute to your happiness and isn’t longer a decisive factor when it comes to a promotion or getting a new job.
- The same study highlights that people aimed at high pay prefer to major in engineering, economics or business. Those whose choice of career was influenced by other factors opt for social or humanitarian sciences. So, if you are a student looking to build a career that would be rewarding financially, you might want to consider obtaining one of the above degrees. The study doesn’t mention the job satisfaction depending on degree obtained, though.
- Across all levels of income, company’s culture and values is the top predictor of satisfaction at the workplace. Other factors that the employees define as critical for job happiness are quality of senior leadership and career growth opportunities that the company offers. As you see, salary and benefits were left outside of top 3 things for work happiness.
- As your income rises, priorities change. People with low income tend to care more about the pay and the necessity to maintain work-life balance (as you might want to find a side job to earn more). However, as their income reaches that $75,000 point and exceeds it, they become more concerned with long-term career development opportunities, culture and values. And this looks quite logical – when your basic needs are fulfilled, you can focus entirely or personal development in the workplace.
For instance, organizational culture and values contribute to 21.6% of worker’s satisfaction with low income and for highest income group this figure grows up to 23.4%. The figures behind the importance of salary are right the opposite – the higher the income is, the less people name it as a decisive factor for job happiness.
Income is influenced by many factors: your education, years of experience, industry, gender wage gap, location, etc. However, as the above studies reveal, a high salary only is not enough to ensure workplace satisfaction. Organizational culture, quality leadership, career prospects and challenging tasks can contribute even more to making you happy with your work.
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How to get paid more
Let’s say you’ve visited the website like Glassdoor.com only to find out that your salary is below the industry average. Or, the coworker doing the same job as you do blurted out about her earnings and you found out that she makes more than you. Or maybe, you talked money during the industry event and learned that your income leaves much to be desired. Well, you’re not alone - in 2017, only 26% of employees reported to be satisfied with their compensation level.
Feeling underpaid can significantly drop your job satisfaction. If the job is good in general and money is your only concern, don’t hurry to quit. Instead, think of the ways to earn more money – here are a few ideas to get started:
- Take on additional responsibility
People are willing to take on more work to get noticed and receive a promotion. Still, if you don’t want to show off or get promoted and only aim for extra pay, you’ll need to pitch your boss with an offer. First, find a problem that no one has time to handle (or, the right person hasn’t been hired for it yet). Secondly, evaluate how much time you’ll need to perform the new tasks so it wouldn’t influence your ability to complete your daily job. Ideally, if it’s something that would take you extra 1-2 hours a day. Then, come up to your boss and offer to solve this problem for an additional pay.
- Get extra training
Professional trainings, courses and certifications add your value both in resume and at the workplace. If your employer provides training, never miss an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and strengthen your expertise. If they don’t, you can take a course or obtain a certification at your own expense. It makes sense to choose the courses which can make an immediate effect on your career and the level of pay. There are also lots of MOOCs available online for free, and you can take them at any time convenient for you.
To make your learning effective, keep your focus sharp and know your big goal. If you face problems with motivation, here are the best ways to regain it: http://resumeperk.com/blog/simple-ideas-to-regain-motivation-for-working.
- Change jobs frequently
Career experts state that people who change jobs often (once a year or so), typically make more than those who don’t. And it’s easy to explain: by facing different types of businesses and handling various challenges they develop their expertise faster and can claim for higher salary. Moreover, during job interviews they have the chance to negotiate the salary they want right away. If you ask for a higher salary from your current employer, you can expect to get around 2-4% more of what you earn now. But if you negotiate salary during the job interview, it’s possible for you to claim a salary exceeding your current income by 10% or even 20% - provided that you can prove your worth.
However, if you are happy with your current employer now, this tactic might be not for you. Moreover, changing jobs often can be seen by some employers as lack of corporate loyalty.
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- Find a growing industry
Have you realized that your current job is not for you? Then, pay your attention to the rapidly growing industries like software development. In a growing industry, you can work your way up and get paid considerably more in 2-3 years, while in a slow-growth industry the same career path can take you 10 years.
As soon as you’ve identified the industry you’d like to work in, do a research and find the biggest companies that are growing the most rapidly in that industry. Usually, such companies are industry leaders, have strong corporate culture and offer the best opportunities for career progression, as well as the highest pay. Update your old resume and do your best to get hired to one of these companies.
- Choose your boss
Picking the right company to work for is just part of the plan. Another important step is choosing the right boss. The latter is even more important, as it’s the boss who often determines whether you’ll get a pay raise, a promotion and how quickly your career is going to develop. Moreover, your boss should be the personality type you’ll be comfortable working with, because a difficult boss can make your new job a disaster even if the pay is high.
So, during an interview with your potential boss, take your time to evaluate their personality type, ask about their leadership style, values and pace of work. If possible, talk to other people who work for this boss and ask for their opinion. Make a grounded decision as a good supervisor can help you a lot with advancing your career.
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- Develop a positive attitude
Due to a growing importance of soft skills at the modern workplace, being the right type of personality is more important for a promotion that possessing an impressive set of skills and professional competencies. To secure a promotion or pay raise, you need to display upbeat and positive attitude and become the type of person others like to work with. Why is this important? Firstly, being positive about the new challenges shows that you are ready for more responsibility. Secondly, it helps you and your work to get noticed faster. And thirdly, positive attitude helps you cope with stressful and tough situations more effectively.
Feel uninspired at work? Find out how to find the lost inspiration: http://resumeperk.com/blog/10-ways-to-find-lost-desire-and-inspiration.
- Ask for a pay raise
Asking for extra responsibility and taking initiative at work are important for getting noticed. However, to get a pay raise, you’ll need to ask for it. Don’t sit back and wait – it’s not the hardest working people in the room that get promoted, but those who market themselves aggressively.
- Choose the right time to talk to your boss – the success of your pay raise request depends a lot on choosing the right time to pitch your boss. Ideally, if the team has just completed the project and you made a significant contribution to it or the sales hit the new record. If the company faces a drop of business activity or your boss has issues in private life, it’s better not to bother them with raise requests.
- Collect the evidence – obviously, simply letting them know that you need more money is not enough. Don’t blackmail your boss that you’ll quit if you’re not getting that raise (unless you really have an attractive job offer), since you may end up jobless. Instead, present the information why you deserve this raise. Inform your boss about the trainings you’ve taken, skills you’ve learned both at work and on your own, and remind about your successes at work and how your efforts contributed to the company’s success.
- Keep the conversation on a positive note – even if you work for a friend, don’t be arrogant and don’t mumble. Be sure that you talk professionally yet friendly. Here’s some more advice on negotiating pay raise: http://resumeperk.com/blog/secrets-how-to-ask-for-a-raise-just-follow-these-tips.
They said “No”? Ask about what you can do to make more money. If your boss doesn’t provide you with the guidance and doesn’t seem to be collaborative about this touchy issue, it’s better to start looking for a better paying job.
Choosing the right company to work for
Job satisfaction depends heavily on the company you decide to work for. If you are determined to get your resume updated professionally and seek for career opportunities out there, pay attention not only to what the job entails, but also what the company has to offer in general. To ensure that the working conditions will be pleasant for you and foster your growth as a professional, pay attention to the following:
- Avoid major job negatives
When picking the company to work for, considering positive factors the job has to offer is not enough. It’s also important to make sure of the absence of things making work unhappy. For instance, a commute which takes you over an hour will likely become a problem after a few months. Job insecurity caused by unstable market conditions for your company can keep you stressed at fear of losing the job. Long working hours or frequent overtimes can ruin your work-life balance. Make sure that the potential opportunity is free from major negatives at the interview stage – therefore, you’ll save your time and avoid getting hired for the wrong role.
- Company’s culture and values
During the interviews, hiring managers take their time to evaluate not only candidate’s skills and knowledge, but to identify cultural fit as well. Indeed, the skill you lack in can be learned, while lack of cultural fit will close your doors for success in this company. The corporate culture, pace of work and style of collaboration should match your personality type. For instance, if you are used to working in a corporate environment with a strict dress code and your own office, you may find it tough to adapt to a relaxed start-up environment. For more guidance on modern workplace etiquette, see here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/lifeline-for-newcomers-unspoken-rules-of-office-etiquette.
Ideally, if you can find the company with values and mission matching your personal beliefs. For instance, if you take care about the planet, you’ll feel even more happy if get hired by an eco-friendly company.
- Company’s expectations from you
Every company has its own employee policy. This means not only corporate culture, but also how the company treats their employees. You might try and clarify this point by asking “How does a perfect employee look like from your perspective?” during the interview. However, it will be more helpful if you find someone working for the same company and ask them directly. For instance, some companies offer a decent pay but expect their staff to work at least 10 hours a day. Some managers might assign you lots of tasks beyond your professional responsibilities. Clarifying this in advance will prevent you from ending up in the wrong role.
- Company’s position on the market
To build a career faster and get a competitive salary, it’s important to look for jobs in the companies which develop, increase their profits and are market leaders. The fastest growing companies give you bigger opportunities for professional growth accordingly. So, before you apply for a job online, research the company to evaluate its place on the market and profitability. Is the company in the developing industry? What reputation does it have among the competitors and former employees? What are their biggest challenges and how do they address them?
It seems logical to work for big and growing companies since they provide job security. However, there’s one more important reason. Top performing companies realize that satisfied employees are the most important asset of the company, therefore, they’ll provide most of the things it takes you to feel happy with your job.
- Career building potential
If you have an ambitious career plan, it’s necessary to find out about possible career path options. Be sure to ask this question during the interview. Your task is not only to ask whether the company provides career growth opportunities – nearly all medium- to large-sized companies offer these. The more important question is what kind of career trajectories exist for the position you’re applying for and whether they align with your long-term career goals. If they do, you’ve come to the right place.
Again, listening to insiders’ feedback about career building with the company will be helpful as well. Some companies guarantee promotions and salary increase based on your performance and contribution only, while the others have longer and more sophisticated process.
- Opportunities to learn
One of the key factors ensuring your job happiness is the possibility to learn new skills and broaden your subject matter knowledge. There are two main types of on-the-job learning. The first one is learning from practice: the more sophisticated and challenging tasks you encounter and the more superstars you work with, the faster you develop your expertise. The second type is formal learning and training opportunities offered by the company. Both type of learning not only contribute to your job satisfaction, but also give you the opportunity for career growth in the future.
Even if the company doesn’t meet all your criteria but provides the possibility to work with great mentors or pays for the top industry trainings, it makes sense to work for them for a while. Extensive learning always pays off in terms of career progression and salary increase.
- Salary and benefits
As mentioned above, the high pay itself won’t make you happy with the job. Nevertheless, it’s important to get paid what you really worth. When negotiating salary and perks, don’t get attached to the amount the hiring manager says and wonder about whether a salary increase is assumed after a specific period of time. For instance, some companies offer lower salary for the first few months and then increase it significantly. The amount offered by others isn’t going to change much over time. If the money issue is important for you, clarify it upfront to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
To find a truly satisfying job, be sure to consider all the above elements that contribute to your happiness at the workplace. Picking the company that takes care of the employee development and satisfaction will prevent you from making bad career decisions. Also, it’s a good idea to ask the following questions before accepting a job offer: http://resumeperk.com/blog/11-questions-to-ask-before-accepting-a-job-offer.
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How to increase your job satisfaction
In addition to finding your calling and choosing the right company to work for, it’s important that you also take charge of your own career happiness. By being proactive about your job satisfaction, you can make literally any job more meaningful and fulfilling:
- Give the most meaningful tasks bigger priority
In any type of job, there are tasks that you enjoy more and those you find exhausting. Whenever possible, ask your manager to assign you more tasks of the first type. Spending more time doing something you love will keep you motivated for less enjoyable activities and will increase your satisfaction from the job.
- Build positive and productive workplace relationships
It’s no surprise that the quality of interactions at work can make us overall more or less happy with the job. Luckily, this is something that is easy to change. Be more open and friendly towards your co-workers, participate in group projects and give credit when it’s due. Talk to some of the people you work with to get to know them on the more personal level (just be sure to avoid touchy subjects of conversation with your colleagues). The same rule applies for your boss, subordinates and returning clients – by getting to know them more personally, you’ll derive more satisfaction from work. And as you build respectful and positive interactions, you get more chances for career growth.
- Make improvements at the workplace
Are there any particular things making you unhappy during the working day? For instance, maybe, you feel that some aspects of how the working process is organized can be improved. If so, be sure to raise this issue during the meeting or talk to your supervisor. Even if you believe that the changes in office design can make the difference, bring this up. It can happen that your colleagues are unhappy about how things are going in the office too but don’t have courage to suggest doing something about it.
As you personally contribute to making the processes better or making working environment more enjoyable for everyone, your self-esteem and job satisfaction will inevitably grow.
Are you unhappy with your current line of career? If you experience a career crisis, remember that it’s never too late to pursue a dream job.
- Organize your daily work
Sometimes work dissatisfaction and stress come from poor time management and organizational skills. If you always work under pressure and struggle getting things done on time, it’s high time that you reorganized your daily workload. Create a plan for every working day, learn to handle the most urgent and important matters first and plan your workload for a week or more. Being organized and completing things on time will help you be more effective and bring more value.
- Avoid workaholism
Productivity and hard work is important; however, don’t let the late hours take over the other important aspects of your life. Hard work and dedication helps your career development, while workaholism shows your inability to prioritize and maintain a healthy balance between work and life. To learn the differences between the two types, check out the workaholic vs hard worker comparison.
Job satisfaction heavily depends on the benefits and opportunities for growth that your employer offers. However, it’s also important to be proactive about your career to get the most out of these opportunities. Displaying positive attitude, willingness to make a contribution and learn on the go will help you make your job even more enjoyable.
To top it off, career satisfaction depends on multiple factors, and money isn’t necessarily the most important one. Corporate culture, good career prospects and quality senior leaderships are more important for feeling happy with your job. So, when looking for a new opportunity to continue your career, be sure to take these factors into consideration.
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Is a high salary or job satisfaction more important personally for you?