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What Workers Want: Less Money, More Impact
By Steve Schueth

The prevailing wisdom is that a higher salary equals a happy worker. That idea might be changing.

A report released by the Net Impact organization details what employees from younger generations want today. The report, titled “Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012,” comes from a survey of 1,726 people, consisting of a quarter college students, 47 percent millennials, and 28 percent Gen X and Boomers. The respondents were asked about their work, their satisfaction levels, and to what they aspire.

Across all generations, a majority (61-70%) of respondents said that they have a responsibility to make society better rather than leave it for the future.

Far more intriguing, however, is that workers who are able to make an environmental or social impact with their job report being most satisfied—by a 2:1 margin. For employees who are able to make an impact and want that ability, 46 percent report being “very satisfied” with their work. For workers who want to make an impact but can’t in their job, just 18% report being “very satisfied.”

Even more idealistic are the students. Seventy-two percent of college students surveyed stated having a career that makes an environmental or social impact is an important life goal for them, important enough to rank above wealth or having children.

In fact, students rated such a career as important enough that they’d be willing to take a pay cut to obtain such a position.

What that means for employers is that attracting the best talent both today and into the future will mean a company-wide dedication to CSR. The work-life line is fading—today’s workers don’t want to leave their personal convictions at the company door.

Read More: “Proof: A strong CSR program can attract, retain talent for less,” GreenBiz.com, June 6, 2012.

Posted: June 21, 2012