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Employees prioritise working for ethical businesses over higher salaries, research finds

New research reveals that money isn’t always the biggest motivator when it comes to people looking for their dream jobs, with nearly half of adults (46%) saying that working for an ethical business is more important to them than getting a higher salary.

Those aged 25 to 34 were most likely to agree with this sentiment (54%), as well as those working in the environment and energy sector (65%). Additionally, nearly two-thirds (62%) of adults value a better work-life balance over getting paid more, while 53% prefer to work for a company that gives the option to work remotely at least some of the time.

Outlined in the HR Unhooked PR and Marketing Report, published by Unhooked Communications, the research questioned 2015 UK adults on what they look for in an employer, as well as well what motivates them in their work.

Corporate social responsibility was also deemed important by employees, with 52% of respondents saying it was important for them to work for a company that gives back to local communities through fundraising, donations and/or volunteering, while 46% said they would like to work for a company that has an environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy. More than half (57%) of people agree it is important to work for a company that champions diversity and inclusivity.

When applying for jobs, more than half (59%) said they would look at the businesses’ own websites and social media channels for information about the culture, values and general ways of working, with the same number researching to see what recent news stories there were about the company. More than two-fifths of people (42%) said they would look to see what awards the business had recently been shortlisted for or won.

Claire Gamble, managing director of Unhooked Communications, said: ‘We know how vital it is for businesses across all sectors to attract and retain the very best talent, yet competition can be tough, particularly in sectors like construction or technology, which are dealing with an ongoing skills shortage. Businesses might struggle to compete on salaries, so it is reassuring to see that employees also value non financial qualities in their employer.

‘It is very often down to the HR teams to consider how they word job descriptions and the benefits of working with a company. However, the research shows how important it is for HR departments to work alongside marketing and PR teams to ensure that the company’s culture and ethics come across in external communications too. By focussing on building a strong employer brand through PR and marketing activity such as generating positive press coverage, winning credible awards and creating content that shows the ethics and purpose of the brand, companies can not only attract the best talent, but they can also motivate and retain their existing workforce too.’


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