SALEM — Workers value having a job they can be proud of, that is close to home with flexible hours and that has health insurance, according to a survey by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center.
Rated the highest by all demographic groups by those surveyed, at 63%, was having a work-life balance, according to the survey.
The second highest workplace feature was health insurance and working with people who the survey respondents respected.
“It’s unsurprising that most people rank earning a good salary as the most important consideration when choosing a place to work and that it is really important to people without a college degree because a good salary can be more difficult for those to come by,” said Amaury Vogel, associate executive director of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, which conducted the survey Sept. 14-22. “The ranking tells us a little bit more because it makes people choose a few priorities.”
Earning a good salary was a priority for 72% of those participating in the survey who were 30-54 years of age and 64% for all respondents. While it makes sense that earning a good salary ranks among the top priorities, Vogel said the work-life balance probably was not something workers placed such a high value on 20 years ago.
“Oregonians in the 30-44 age range are more likely than other age groups to have young children and therefore prioritize a flexible schedule, but it’s a bit surprising that those 18-29, who are often just establishing their careers, would prioritize flexible hours.”
When Annis Henson was a full-time worker, health insurance was a priority for her and her family. The Bend resident worked for Habitat for Humanity as a field staffer prior to retirement. As a worker she valued the collaborative nature of the work and having a supervisor who valued her opinion.
“My work was very satisfying,” Henson said. “I could see results in the work we did.”
The center’s online survey was sent to 1,124 Oregon residents. The survey’s margin of error is 1.7% to 2.9%. The Oregon Values and Beliefs Center is an independent, nonpartisan organization.
Looking at the demographics, people of color and white people aligned on what is important about where they choose to work, according to the survey. The top priorities in both groups were earning a good salary, developing skills, flexible hours and feeling appreciated.
Urban Oregonians were more likely than rural residents to believe that contributing to society was ranked as a very important part of their work life. And both groups — urban and rural residents — placed equal importance on where they lived with 42% ranking this as a very important issue.