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February 20, 2013 | 5 min read
The Truth about Employee Satisfaction


Despite the recent trend to shower employees with workplace perks, research conducted by Inc. shows that personnel care less about short-term benefits like free massages and more about factors that influence their quality of life in the long-term.  Jesse Siegal, Director of Execu|Search’s Office Support and Human Resources division, comments on the change: “One of the trends we’ve been seeing over the last few years is candidates who really pay attention to their total employment package.  While salary and job title are still very important, competitive benefit packages are becoming deciding factors for candidates when choosing between multiple offers.”  While many employees are satisfied with their co-workers, vacation time, and bosses, they worry most about on-the-job stress and health benefits.  Siegal notes, “with rising healthcare costs and increasingly unstable market conditions, our candidates want to make sure that their futures are secure.”

Employee doubts and desires vary based on age and gender.  Generation Xers, who are perhaps more financially secure than their younger counterparts, tend to care more about obtaining a higher job title. Millennials want more basic training to acquire new skills and hit the ground running at work.  Data shows that men tend to want promotions and higher salaries, whereas many women are more concerned about shorter and more flexible work hours.  And certain factors affect everyone; Dana Scurlock, who works in The Execu|Search Group’s Nonprofit Division, points out that “due to the economic crisis, potential candidates, particularly those who are unemployed, are willing to take an overall lower salary for their next role provided that the employer offers solid health benefits and a stable office environment.”   Few employees of any age or gender actively desire more short-term employee perks—the most popular of these being free beverages and a company tablet or smartphone for personal use.

Employee satisfaction ranges based on a number of factors, and there’s no quick fix for an unhappy employee.  That said, certain employer endeavors can and do help.  For example, solid benefits and lots of hands-on training make employees feel confident in themselves and their future.  However, what satisfies employees the most can’t be bought or taught—the feeling that their work is meaningful and produces tangible results.


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