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Would You Rather: Big Salary or Top Company?

Clare Hopping

CloudContrary to popular belief, a new survey finds that salary is not the primary concern of most Asian job-seekers.

A recent survey conducted by the South China Morning Post found that a majority of Asian job-seekers view compensation as one of the least important factors they consider when looking for work. This revelation has effectively blown away all previously held ideas about remuneration being the be-all, end-all factor when it comes to contract negotiations.

This new finding begs the question: if workers in the Eastern Hemisphere aren’t primarily motivated by money, what’s actually guiding their decision-making process?

Motivation of the Eastern Exec

CarThe survey revealed that, at the Chief Executive/Director level, finding work one considers “rewarding” is the principal aim of most candidates. The majority of job-seekers are more concerned with inspirational leadership and the reputation of the company than their personal pay grade.

This may be hard for many Europeans to comprehend, as success in Western culture is largely defined by salary and status markers like flashy new cars and high-tech gadgets. But it would seem that the top brass in the Asian job market are endowed with the ability to rise above materiality and remain focussed on the bigger picture.

Cards on the Table

MonopolyBack on home soil, a similar survey conducted by Investors in People (IIP) confirmed that Brits are not quite so high-minded. Money was listed as the top motivating factor when it came to people switching jobs, as 64% listed “pay” as the primary motivation for slinging their hook. “Enjoying the job” was a close second at 62%, while “employer reputation” came in third at 39%.

Some might look at the disparity between the two surveys and conclude that perhaps Westerners have their priorities mixed up. But a closer look at the IIP study suggests otherwise – Europeans simply have a different set of motivations. It’s true that, as the economy has begun to recover, candidates seem to be increasingly optimistic. But austerity measures have forced many to remain cautious in how they approach the issue of money.

Employer Brand Awareness

The IIP survey’s first- and second-most popular reasons for jumping ship are largely self-explanatory, but what about this concept of “employer reputation”? Referred to in the industry as an employer brand, it’s the way in which a company presents itself with the aim of attracting and retaining top staff.

Unfortunately, many companies often misinterpret this concept. For example, a lot of hip, trendy firms will have ping pong in the office or a bar in the staffroom for the sole purpose of appearing fun and progressive. But employer branding is more than just beer and playgrounds – switched-on brands know that the best way to attract top talent is to show they are clued-in, up-to-date, and 100% relevant.

(Image credits:  Equipe Integrada/flickrAutomotive Rhythms/flickrBrian Talbot/flickr)

Clare Hopping

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms.