Survey Finds Workers Prioritize Benefits, Culture and Growth Potential

The challenge of bridging the gap to new generations, such as millennials, isn't a new conversation. In 2016, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR covered some tips for appealing to young workers, which have proven to be a mystery to some business owners as construction companies struggle to grow their skilled workforce, keep up with an expanding economy and head off the impending baby-boomer cliff.

According to the Hays, a specialist recruitment group, its "What People Want Survey" finds base salary isn't the only significant driving motivator for workers anymore. While the survey finds base salary is still the primary consideration for most workers, benefits, company culture and growth opportunities have risen in priority, and combined, they outweigh salary.

The survey compiles more than 2,000 respondents in general markets, but it features a breakout of construction and property workers.

Perhaps the most telling result, 65 percent of respondents said they would take a paycut for their ideal job. However, it's worth noting this statistic falls below the report's overall finding of 71 percent who would take a paycut.

Related, 62 percent of construction and property respondents said they would need more than a 10 percent increase in salary to leave their current position. This result is higher than the overall finding of 58 percent.

These two findings suggest a slightly better-than-average satisfaction metric among construction and property respondents, and that pans out in the results. Of those responding whether they were satisfied with their current role, 46 percent said they were, while the general result measured at 44 percent.

It is good news for construction managers; however, Hays noted this result is still relatively low. Lending credence to that is a very high response rate (81 percent) for respondents who would consider leaving their current role.

"Culture is the main reason construction professionals say they would consider leaving their current role, with 36 percent saying it is the biggest motivator," the report states. "They weigh company values as 20 percent more important for good culture than other functions, indicating that they are looking for a company that aligns with their own values. They also weigh working with the right team and strong leadership higher than average (15% and 13% higher respectively)."

“Workers today expect more than just a paycheck from their jobs, and they are willing to compromise on base salary to find the right fit,” said Hays US President Dan Rodriguez in a press release. “We hear every day from candidates looking for a company culture that fits with their core values. Strong leadership, open communication, work-life balance and career development are only going to become more important for attraction and retention.”

According to Hays' analysis, the survey indicates employers should look beyond the paycheck as compensation.

The survey finds open communication, strong leadership and work-life balance as high priorities for young workers who place emphasis on company culture.

As benefits go, survey respondents said signing bonuses and financial support for training were the most desired (74 percent). Share incentives and performance bonuses were also high priorities at 69 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Workers also place importance on personal development allowances and training/certification support at 65 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

Hays said traditional benefits of health and dental insurance, 401k contributions and paid time off are seen as standard and don't help employers distinguish themselves.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson is editor—digital for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. Reach him at

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