Career opportunities, quality of leadership found more meaningful than compensation
To be sure, higher salaries were associated with higher employee satisfaction. While 15% of users earning less than $30,000 a year gave their employer one out of five stars, just 10% of users earning upwards of $120,000 gave the same rating. On the flip side, while 40% of users making less than $30,000 gave their employer four or five stars, as many as 51% of users making more than $120,000 gave the same rating.
The caveat? A higher salary only makes employees a little bit happier. A more advanced data analysis revealed that a 10% increase in pay was associated with a mere 1% increase in employee satisfaction. So if you make $50,000 a year and you get a $5,000 raise, your satisfaction would theoretically rise from 75% to 76%.
When it comes to employee satisfaction, other factors could be more meaningful than salary. The researchers looked at different aspects of the workplace and found that employees valued them in this order:
- Culture and values
- Career opportunities
- Senior leadership
- Work-life balance
- Compensation and benefits
- Business outlook
As Forbes' Susan Adams notes, it's likely that people making less than $30,000 would value compensation over other factors. But at the point at which you can take care of your expenses, save some money, and have a little fun, other aspects of your job may matter more than salary.