What do your employees really care about when it comes to their jobs?

By Fiona Scott on 8 March, 2019

What do your employees truly care about when it comes to their jobs?

Have you even asked them and listened?

In a county like Wiltshire where employee retention and recruitment can be a challenge  and where unemployment is relatively low, having a true understanding of what employees want from their job is important.

National Careers Week this week aims to encourage companies to think about their employees’ wellbeing and happiness and new research has asked British workers about the things they most want from their work.

The top three considerations – according to the survey – are:

  • Salary
  • Working Hours
  • Location & Enjoyment

The YouGov surveyof 2,000 adults, commissioned by the Oxford Open Learning Trust, found while money is still the biggest motivator behind career choice (64%), and over half of the respondents cited working hours as an important factor (55%).

The survey suggests people are striving for a healthy work-life balance, and ‘enjoyment’ is listed as the joint third most considered aspect during the job search process. Finances are still central to a lot of career changes, however half of respondents say they would follow their heart and look for jobs which align with their personal interests.

The top then most important factors when choosing a new job werer:

  1. Salary: 64%
  2. Working hours: 55%

3 & 4 Location: 50% & Personal Interest and Enjoyment 50%

  1. Job security: 40%
  2. Working environment: 37%
  3. Opportunities for progression: 26%
  4. Opportunities for training / learning a new skill: 23%
  5. The opinions of my family / partner: 12%
  6. Status: 9%

What do employers in Swindon and Wiltshire think of the survey and its findings.

Mike Lloyd, managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon manages a team of 13 in the Swindon office and five in the Trowbridge team – however nationally Haines Watts is the 15th biggest accountancy brand in the UK.

Mike Lloyd, Haines Watts Swindon

“We all spend a pretty big proportion of our lives working. That alone means we have got to really, really enjoy what we do or everything else in our lives will suffer. It’s really good to see then that enjoyment comes pretty high up the list of people’s considerations when they are asking themselves “should I stay or should I go?” It all ties in with the much used but usually important phrase ‘work/life balance’”, Mike said.

“We work hard to give people the enjoyment factor when they are coming to work. We genuinely want them to enjoy themselves because that’s when people are at their most productive. Inevitably though as employers we have to accept people still have to pay their bills and inevitably salary still is and probably always will be the biggest or one of the biggest factors to consider.”

Jo Reese is an HRD specialist through her company Long Horizon based in Warminster and often works in a corporate environment.

Jo Reese, Long Horizon

She said, “One of the biggest ways of attracting and keeping the people you want to work for you, is to have a culture of engagement. Companies who encourage their employees to enjoy their work, contribute ideas, learn new skills, find it easier to attract and keep the people they need to grow the business.

“Managers who manage their teams well make all the difference. CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) say “research has repeatedly pointed to a relationship between how people are managed, their attitudes and behaviour and business performance (CIPD Nov 2018)”.

“If you want to get and keep the people you need, get your managers working well, your people engaged and your business will flourish.”

Karl Paul, Smarter Media

Karl Paul, founder and managing director of Smarter Media in Swindon added, “I completely agree with these findings, at Smarter Media we have always aimed to pay above average and at the same time offer enjoyment in the role and flexibility. We chose our office location on the basis that it was pretty central but also offered ample free car parking, this has always been an important factor for people that work here. We believe in working hard but smiling every day, and if we can achieve that for our team, then the productivity and money will always follow”.

Melody Thompson runs 24/7 Staffing – a recruitment company which has offices in Chippenham, Amesbury and Bristol. They have a team of 32  and offer an extensive benefit package to staff. This includes a healthcare cash back scheme, five days’ holiday buyback option, earning up to five days extra holiday for each full year of service and a £1,000 bonus  for staff reaching their tenth anniversary with the company.

Melody Thompson, 24/7 Staffing

She said, “I agree with many of the survey’s findings, salary is still very important and a top priority. What we are seeing more and more is that people are talking about job satisfaction, they want something which is fulfilling – people are often motivated by something else as well as the salary. Here at work for us it’s about changing people’s lives which we do on a regular basis.
“One thing to remember in Wiltshire is location can be very important as we are a rural county and getting around if you haven’t got a car can be very difficult and can limit opportunity. One of the first questions we’ll ask is ‘can you drive?”.
“In our sectors such as construction or warehouse roles, flexibility can be a challenge. Teams will often need to be on site because of the nature of the work, though we fully recognise in other sectors that may work and benefit both the employee and the employer.”


The team at Purple Lime based in Corsham, went one step further and did a poll of their staff – their findings differed considerably. Their top three were:

  • Working environment
  • Working hours
  • Personal enjoyment

Their next priorities were:

  • Salary – ‘not top of the list for any of our team’ –
  • Job security
  • Location
  • Training, new skills
  • Opportunities for progression

Bottom of the list was:

Status – in line with the national survey.

Angela Ashworth, Purple Lime co-founder, said,“We have a range of ages here from 20s to 40s and we’ve found work/lifestyle balance and enjoyment are critical to retain staff and is something we support.

Angela Ashworth, Purple Lime

“We like to have a fun team environment with some core hours in the office each week. This also enables us to deliver our services consistently and efficiently. Alongside we offer working from home as required and flexibility of time around core hours.  We encourage all the team to maintain physical and mental well-being and try to support them in this.”

The survey was commissioned to launch the Profession Picker tool, designed to help adults who are thinking of making a career change. Each year, the Oxford Open Learning Trust serves learners might need an extra qualification such as a GCSE or A Level in order to get their desired job and start a new career. For details visit http://www.ool.co.uk/the-profession-picker/