Diverse Groups Agree: Salary Counts

While everyone agrees on the importance of money when choosing a job, there are many differences across ages, races and gender in workplace contentment, valuation of benefits and perceptions of discrimination, according to a new survey.

Across age groups, genders and ethnicity, the leading deal-makers in picking a new job were salary, benefits and opportunities for work-life balance, according to a survey released Oct. 30 by Monster Worldwide, the Maynard, Mass.-based online career and recruitment site.

The study, titled "A Changing Landscape: The Effect of Age, Gender and Ethnicity on Career Decisions," surveyed employed online job seekers across three demographic segments—age, gender and ethnicity—to identify commonalities and key differentiators between these groups in terms of their career decisions.

According to the survey, money is still the foremost factor driving decisions about where to work. Across the board, 78 percent of workers said that the No. 1 determining factor in their acceptance of a new job is salary they consider "higher than other companies."

Gender findings

A slight difference was shown between genders. While 45 percent of men put money first in choosing a job, only 38 percent of women felt the same.

Among other gender-dividing workplace factors, a long commute was considered a deal-breaker by 62 percent of women but only 50 percent of men. An inconvenient office location deterred 39 percent of women but only 30 percent of men, and while only 26 percent of men refused to take a job that offered them no flexible work hours, 41 percent of women turned down such jobs. Female workers also ranked a good health insurance plan higher than their male counterparts, at 66 percent compared with 57 percent.

Finally, the survey found that overall, women were more satisfied with their work than men were, with 83 versus 72 percent expressing contentment in their current positions.

Age-group issues

In the responses, older employees placed a bigger emphasis on benefits and retirement plans, while younger workers came off as more likely to view their jobs as transitional, with a higher tolerance for less-desirable situations. Of workers age 50 and above, 67 percent considered a better pension a deal-maker in choosing a job, a sentiment shared by only 45 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds.

Experienced workers were more likely to express satisfaction in their current positions, with 82 percent saying they were satisfied compared with 59 percent of entry-level employees.

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Older workers were more certain than younger workers of the existence of age discrimination when two people were competing for a job. In the 50-plus group, 70 percent of respondents believed that the younger of two candidates would get a job they were both competing for, a belief shared by only 34 percent of workers in the 18-to-34 group.

Race concerns

Workplace diversity was found to be of interest to not only minorities, but also workers across the board. 47 percent of Caucasians responded that when considering potential job opportunities, it was important to them that the company already had a diverse work force.

80 percent of African-Americans and 77 percent of Hispanics, in contrast with just 63 percent of Caucasians surveyed, indicated that the opportunity for upward mobility was "important" when deciding whether to accept a new job.

Opportunities for training, growth and career progression were found by the survey to be stronger motivating factors for minorities than they were for Caucasians. Of the minorities who responded, 76 percent said that on-the-job training was important when evaluating a new position, compared with 64 percent of Caucasians.

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