The biggest myth that has been circling the world of HR for a while now is to do with compensation. Research after research based on endless survey data tells us that role, quality of work and brand reputation precedes compensation when it comes to selecting a new job opportunity. Yet contrary to it all, when it comes down to making the actual decision, compensation always wins.
We have been brainwashed to believe that when it comes to accepting a job offer, there’s more than money involved. While this myth encourages organizations to look inwards and work towards building a workplace that employees will actually want to work in, it is a lie. When choosing between two job offers, the one that offers more money will likely win. Before you go up in arms, I admit that exceptions exist. I have friends and acquaintances who have made unsound financial choices in trade for learning, experience and better work-life balance. However, they are the exception and not the norm. And research isn’t meant to bring the exception to the forefront but surface the norm. If you work in talent acquisition, you understand the value of pay better than I do.
Is then the research fictitious? Is there a hidden agenda whose success relies on fooling us into believing that with everything else being perfect, we can get away with paying less than the median and not have people frown? The sad fact is that research based on surveys are inaccurate. You can try every survey trick in the book – make them anonymous, make them short, ask in person, lock them up in a room and inject them with truth serum – the outcome will all be the same. Respondents always lie when asked how important money is. The worst part is that they don’t even know they are lying.
People want to believe that money doesn’t dictate all. Maybe they don’t want to stand out as the victims of materialism – not to the world and clearly not to themselves. This difference in what people say vs what people do has organizations baffled. Maybe it’s time to admit that it is all about the money.
For the longest time, we have been made to believe that career progression is linked to a better title and better pay. While we can accept that different organizations label their roles differently, it is difficult to believe that the next step that can further our career could possibly pay less. The cognitive dissonance that follows is extremely difficult to overcome in the face of other intangible benefits. Hence, it is easier to accept the job that pays more. Unless the cost of everything else is too high.
& this brings me to my question to you – how much money are you willing to give up for the next big career shift?