Pay or Company Culture: What Matters Most to You?

by | Sep 26, 2022

Plug “best jobs” into any search engine, and you’ll quickly notice that many lists place emphasis on how much money you can make. However, for a growing number of adults, good pay isn’t enough to keep them at a job. In a 2019 survey conducted by job-searching site Glassdoor, 56% of all employees and 65% of U.S. millennials would focus more on corporate culture when applying for a job.


Many people wonder why company culture matters so much if the job pays enough to live comfortably. Discover the value of company culture and why high pay isn’t as high of a priority as it used to be.


The Value of Culture Over Salary

Pay is still an important deciding factor of a job: according to Pew Research Center, 63% of people who left their jobs in 2021 cited poor pay. However, Glassdoor’s data showed that a small majority of employees believe that company culture is more important. This belief often correlated with age, where younger employees were more likely to prioritize company culture over the paycheck.


Glassdoor’s survey results found that a poor mission or culture often influenced whether job seekers even applied to a company in the first place: 73% of respondents said they wouldn’t submit a job application for a company if they didn’t agree with their values. It also significantly influenced employee retention and turnover. 74% of Americans also said they would leave their current jobs if their workplace culture fell apart.


Glassdoor’s survey was conducted before the Great Resignation when a record number of Americans left their jobs. Going back to the survey by Pew Research Center, while low pay was the leading reason for quitting a job, there was often much more to it. 63% of employees quit because there was no opportunity to move forward in their career, while 57% didn’t feel their employer respected them.



What Affects Company Culture?

When Glassdoor released the results of its survey, Andrew Chamberlain, the company’s chief economist, stated, “A common misperception among many employers today is that pay and work-life balance are among the top factors driving employee satisfaction. Instead, employers looking to boost recruiting and retention efforts should prioritize building strong company culture and value systems, amplifying the quality and visibility of their senior leadership teams, and offering clear, exciting career opportunities to employees.” 

What Chamberlain means is that employees want to feel connected to what they’re doing and feel like their employers care about what they can add to the conversation. Research firm Gallup reported similar findings: employee engagement was higher when employees felt they were contributing to a cause they believed in, their work was meaningful and valued, and they had strong relationships with others at their jobs, particularly with managers.



Should I Prioritize Workplace Culture or Salary?

While only you can decide whether culture or salary is more important to you, data suggests that culture is more important in the long run. A poor work culture can make a high-paying job miserable.


If you’re exploring a new company, it’s always a good idea to get a feel for how everyone in the company operates. In workplaces where employees get little to no recognition for their efforts, have few opportunities to advance, or frequently feel that they’re being shut down, your job can begin to feel meaningless and dreary, no matter your salary. Nobody wants to work a job where they feel like a cog in the machine.


Find the Right Job for You with JobsFuel

Whether your job hunt prioritizes cash or culture, JobsFuel is ready to help. With a resumé that goes above and beyond, JobsFuel’s regular job alerts sent directly to your inbox, and an impressive performance at your job interview, you’ll be able to land a great job in no time.