Quality of Life Matters More Than Compensation

Does the Pursuit of Quality of Life Motivate People to Change Jobs?

According to this year’s survey, a significant number of employees (51%) left a job due to a lack of generosity to employees. So, we asked employees about their pursuit of quality of life, including what, if any, sacrifices they were willing to make regarding compensation to achieve it.

Ultimately, 67% of employees currently are or would be willing to accept lower compensation for a better quality of life.

Quality of life is incredibly important to employees of all ages: 73% of Gen Z, 68% of Millennials, and 62% of Gen X currently are or would sacrifice compensation for a better quality of life. Specifically, over a third (38%) of Gen Z say they are actively making less money in order to protect their quality of life, along with 29% of Gen X and 29% of Millennials.

So, what does quality of life mean? When asked, 1-in-3 employees focused on the relationships in their lives. Respondents coalesced around the flexibility to maintain and grow their relationships with their partners, families, and friends. Other key aspects of quality of life were mental health, physical health, and financial security.

Executives Are Vastly Underestimating This Trend

Just 19% of executives think employees under 35 are actively making less money to have a better quality of life, but 34% of employees say they are currently making less money.

Executives would be wrong to assume this increased focus on quality of life is specific to their young employees—nearly one-third (28%) of employees over 35 are currently making less money to better their quality of life, while executives believe this figure is only 22%.

Burnout May be Driving the Pursuit of Quality of Life

Data suggests that most employees and executives are still managing unhealthy levels of strain.

According to this survey, 69% of employed adults are experiencing burnout, with 18% saying that burnout is impacting their work performance. This is roughly the same high level of burnout we reported last year.

Additionally, 60% of executives admit they are experiencing burnout, and 9% acknowledge that burnout is impacting their work. Slightly fewer executives say they are experiencing burnout compared to last year, but the number of those who claim burnout is impacting their work remains the same: approximately 1-in-10 (9%).

But who is it hitting the hardest? Gen Z and employees of color report suffering from the highest levels of burnout, at 24% and 18%, respectively.

The ongoing pervasiveness of burnout helps to explain why employees continue to prioritize mental health support in the pursuit of a greater quality of life. Those who say they are currently sacrificing compensation to achieve a better quality of life are more likely to be very happy at work and not suffering from burnout. Yet, with only 55% of executives currently offering mental health support, employees remain at risk from the effects of burnout in the workplace.

Tackling this issue also introduces bottom-line implications: a recent Gallup study found that mental health issues are costing the US economy upward of $47.6 billion annually in lost productivity alone. It turns out that realizing business generosity through mental health support not only benefits employees but also improves company culture and productivity.

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