Salary still number one consideration in choosing employer, says survey

Poll of managers finds employees continue to prioritise pay – and care little for cultural fit

Cash is still king when it comes to attracting employees in the UK, according to a survey of managers which suggests values and cultural fit are not viewed as particularly important during the recruitment process.

Salary and core compensation package were cited by managers as the number one motivation for employees when considering an organisation. Just over a quarter (28 per cent) believed money mattered, followed by work environment and atmosphere (24 per cent) and location (24 per cent).

Bottom of the list came cultural fit – the extent to which an employee’s beliefs and behaviours align with their employer’s values – with only 5 per cent of UK respondents citing it as important.

The results formed part of research firm B2B International’s Business & Marketing Survey 2019, which polled 945 HR and business managers across the UK, US, China, France, Spain and Germany.

It found salary was the number one consideration in four out of six countries, with the main priority in Germany and Spain being the work environment, cited by 32 per cent and 33 per cent of respondents respectively. 

Conor Wilcock, a director at B2B International, said: “Businesses can put a lot of time and effort into tackling the problem of staff retention, but our research shows that being paid fairly is still the biggest concern for employees.

“Doing the right thing in this instance might not just be the moral choice, but also a sound business decision in the medium term.”

The study also found that the strength and stability of an organisation was a key consideration for potential employees, named by 23 per cent of UK respondents. This was followed by flexible working policies (21 per cent) and work-life balance, benefit packages and reputation (all 20 per  cent).

Training and development opportunities and management style were also considered to be important, each cited by 18 per cent of respondents.

In the UK, the least important motivators after cultural fit were wellness (8 per cent) and diversity (9 per cent). 

The results cannot be viewed as definitive, since they only record employees’ motivations through the views of their managers, they suggest large numbers of recruiters remain unconvinced that a broad focus on employee experience is translating into better recruitment and retention.

The survey also found a slight generational difference in motivations. Among older generations, a third (33 per cent) of baby boomers – those born between the mid-1940s to mid-1960s – and 32 per cent of Generation X (mid-1960s to early 1980s) said a decent salary was the number one consideration. This compared to just 30 per cent of millennials, who were born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s.