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Advice / Job Search / Job Offer

Would You Take a Pay Cut in Exchange for Work-Life Balance? Studies Say You Would

Millennials working together

Millennial clichés are everywhere. From being labeled entitled to lazy to cutthroat, they really run the gamut—but if greedy was a characterization ever slapped upon the generation, it apparently doesn’t have a lot of weight. At least, not according to a recent Fidelity study, which suggests that not only are Millennials not negotiating job offers, but they’re also open to taking pay cuts—depending on how everything else about the position lines up.

The report states that this group, if given the option to have better work-life balance and a general high quality of the work portion of the equation—career development, company culture, tasks that are meaningful—they’ll take it at the expense of having their salary reduced by approximately $7,600.

The generation was asked how they evaluate a job offer, and the answer may surprise you: 58% rank quality of work environment over financial benefits.

Given the fact that it’s in no one’s best interest to work in a soul-crushing job, I’m actually a little surprised the number isn’t even higher. On the other hand, Millennials ranking the monetary portion of the role higher than work quality aren’t necessarily thinking that the bigger paycheck is linked to a reduction in a happy workplace. And, obviously, this isn’t a natural correlation. Plenty of members of this generation command a high salary and love their job.

If you ever had a position you loathed from top to bottom—because of 12-hour workdays, an overbearing, micromanaging boss, or pretentious, arrogant co-workers—you probably already know that money is hardly everything. When you think about it, $7,600 doesn’t seem like such a significant number when you consider what might be replacing that dollar amount: flexible hours, ownership of your work, a certain amount of autonomy. Maybe it’s an unlimited vacation policy or the option to work remotely one day a week. Perhaps you can bring your dog to the office and your significant other to the weekly happy hours where the beer and wine is supplied by your company.

Of course, perks alone and a cool company culture don’t make for happy employees across the board. Enjoying your responsibilities and feeling like you’re contributing somehow to the organization’s mission and goals is obviously an enormous part of what makes people feel fulfilled.

Yes, negotiating a job offer is still important, but making it all about the salary isn’t the right way to view it anymore. Evaluating one involves looking well beyond the numbers and trying to get a read on the company’s culture, on the kind of manager your boss is, on the projects you’ll be pouring blood, sweat, and tears into. The size of the paycheck is pointless if it’s a struggle to get out of bed every day and drag yourself to the office where you count the minutes until you can bolt for the door.

So, tell me on Twitter, would you take the pay cut? Have you?