For employers, this research bolsters the idea that pay and benefits—while important—are only one factor when it comes to keeping employees engaged over the long term.
As pay rises, compensation and benefits become less important as drivers of employee satisfaction. Instead, other workplace factors play a more important role. Regardless of income level, we find three factors are the most important drivers of job satisfaction: culture and values, senior leadership, and career opportunities.
For job seekers, this suggests that finding satisfaction at work has less to do with pay, and more to do with broader workplace factors. Although pay is important, it is not among the main drivers of workplace happiness. Instead, the big drivers of job satisfaction are working in a company that shares your cultural values, that offers a meaningful career arc, and that has senior leaders you support and believe in.
When it comes to finding satisfaction at work, these are the key factors that matter most—regardless of income level.