It's not just about the money

2004

Most people around the world think that personal development and a good work-life balance are more important factors than pay when choosing a job – but the British and Singaporeans still hanker after a good basic salary above all else.

A global survey of 8,000 people by recruiters Robert Walters has found that the opportunity for ongoing training and personal development was the most important single consideration when taking a new job, with a third (34 per cent) of those surveyed placing it at the top of their list.

A healthy work-life balance was almost as important, cited by 32 per cent, with only a quarter (26 per cent) saying that basic salary was the most important consideration.

A mere eight per cent said the quality of the benefits package was the most important consideration.

But workers in the UK and Singapore bucked the global trend and put pay as their top priority.

According to Mark Ellwood, Director of Robert Walters, Singapore, Singaporeans have seen minimal salary increases and bonus payments in the past few years as a result of the general global economic downturn, the Iraq war, SARS and the growth of manufacturing jobs in China.

"As the market begins to show more positive signs of recovery, Singaporeans are not surprisingly taking the opportunity to capitalise on the possibility of salary increases, rather than focusing wholly on the work/life balance," he said.

Susan Major of Robert Walters UK said that although basic salary still comes first for UK candidates, more and more are stating work-life balance and personal development as key to a career decision.

"The survey showed a shift in people's mindsets from a bias towards finances, towards personal fulfilment and lifestyle choice," she added. "The gap is definitely closing."