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Pandemic transformed Americans’ job priorities

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Multiethnic group of happy business people working together in office
(Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

According to new research, the pandemic has affected all aspects of Americans’ lives, including what they prioritize at work.

A survey of 2,000 adults, who are either employed or currently looking for work, revealed 71% said their workplace priorities have actively changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked which parts of their job have become more important, salary topped the list (76%), followed by having a company health care plan (58%) and having flexible work options (55%).

Rounding out the top five aspects were the workplace environment — whether it’s in an office, at home or hybrid (also 55%) — and the job itself (54%).

Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress, the study also found that employers’ values are taken into consideration when deciding to remain in or leave a job.

Working for a company whose values they agree with (52%) and working for a company that gives back (52%) have both become more important for respondents in the wake of the pandemic.

For 74%, working for a company they believe in is more of a priority now than ever before.

And seven in 10 shared they’re more likely to enjoy their jobs if they work for a company that values sustainability and eco-consciousness.

“Good climate and sustainability policies are good business policies,” said Avocado Green Mattress’ Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder Mark Abrials. “Not only do they help stabilize our supply chains and create a more resilient economy and healthier planet for all, but we know that championing these values helps retain employees and improve morale, too.”

After seeing how workplace priorities have shifted during the pandemic, the survey also asked respondents’ views about “The Great Resignation” — the trend of employees voluntarily resigning from their jobs en masse.

On average, respondents expect The Great Resignation to continue for almost another six months.

And there may be an unexpected benefit from this trend: 70% of respondents are hopeful that The Great Resignation will encourage companies to be more sustainable and eco-conscious, so they could keep their employees from leaving.

This might tie into the fact that 75% of respondents believe companies and corporations have a responsibility to take ethical and environmentally friendly actions.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents have even left a job because it was not ethical or environmentally friendly — which compares to 31% in a 2019 survey run by OnePoll and Avocado Green Mattress on a similar
topic.

In the 2022 survey, 44% said they’d be willing to take a pay cut to work at an ethical and environmentally friendly company, compared to 52% in the 2019 survey, perhaps reflecting how salary has become more important since the pandemic.

But of those open to taking a pay cut to work at an ethical and environmentally friendly company, respondents in this year’s survey were open to taking a slightly larger deduction — 34%, versus 30% in the 2019 survey.

“We know what’s at stake, which is why we’re climate-neutral certified
and a member of 1% For the Planet,” added Abrials. “These trends show what we all already know: on behalf of people and the planet — we all need to take action now.”

WHICH “WORKPLACE PRIORITIES” HAVE BECOME MORE IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYEES SINCE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

  • Money/salary - 76%
  • Health care plan through their company - 58%
  • Flexible working (the ability to work from home/work hybrid) - 55%
  • The working environment (whether in an office or at home, etc.) - 55%
  • The job itself (enjoying what it is they do) - 54%
  • Having job security - 54%
  • Working for a company whose values they agree with - 52%
  • Retirement plan/401(k) through their company - 52%
  • Working for a company that gives back - 52%
  • Responsibility - 50%
  • Having “green”/sustainable initiatives - 49%
  • Opportunities for career development/growth - 49%
  • Having new challenges in their role - 49%
  • Relationship with colleagues - 48%
  • Having a diverse workplace - 48%
  • Receiving regular recognition - 46%

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