Satisfaction Beats Salary: Philips Work/Life Survey finds American workers willing to take pay cut for more personally meaningful careers

Insights to inform recruitment efforts amid shrinking labor pool of qualified applicants

May 17, 2013

Andover, MA – Today’s top professionals and recent graduates expect their careers to provide more than just an income, a survey released by Philips North America found. The Philips Work/Life Survey examined key factors of Americans’ job happiness, with a particular focus on their ability to bring personal interests to their workplace career as a way to create more job satisfaction, achieve greater shared success with their employers, and improve overall well-being.


For baby boomers, work was about the stable paycheck and vertical climb up the corporate ladder. Generations X and Y are redefining the workforce attitude, and instead want to do and achieve what personally matters to them in an environment where respect and entrepreneurial behavior is encouraged. Accordingly, even in the face of a turbulent economy and competitive job market, 68 percent of working Americans would be willing to take a salary cut to work in a job that better allowed them to apply their personal interests to the workplace. Further, almost one quarter of workers (23 percent) would take a pay cut of 25 percent or more.


Companies also face a new challenge of a diminishing labor market of fewer qualified professionals with the skills needed to drive sustainable growth for multi-national, innovation-driven organizations. In fact, projections show that by 2021, there will be a technology talent deficit relative to talent supply growth versus talent demand growth in the U.S. and Canada of -.8 percent and -.9 percent respectively1. Coupled with an aging baby boomer workforce that will be replaced by a generation of workers that have vastly different career values relative to the role of work in one’s life, companies must adjust and focus organizational change efforts on bridging any human capital gaps.


“Philips recognizes that to be successful, we must fully understand and adjust to the wants and motivators of all generations, especially younger ones; and as the survey found, 96 percent of Americans, regardless of their career stage, believe that applying personal interests in a career would make them happier,” said Dana Stocks, Chief Human Resources Officer. “We believe that by recognizing our employees as real people with real passions, we help them do better work that leads to more meaningful innovation for others. Ultimately, we want to provide our employees with more than a job; we want them to have a meaningful career where they can create a legacy in life through their work, and be deeply engaged while doing it.”


Forty-eight percent of workers who are able to leverage personal interests in the workplace state they are very satisfied, signaling this may be a key factor to work happiness. Comparatively, only seven percent of those who are not able to do so state they are very satisfied.


Forty-one percent of those who don’t apply personal interests through their work regret their career path, whereas only 23 percent of workers who are able to do so regret their path. However, more than half (51 percent) of Americans have never changed career paths to integrate their work and personal life in a more meaningful way. Interestingly, men (47 percent) are much more likely than women (30 percent) to be able to pursue personal passions through their work all or most of the time.


The survey found that empowering workers to be real people instead of just on-the-job employees can also drive career advancement. When asked to grade themselves on their progress in achieving major career goals, those who were able to leverage their personal passions through their work were much more likely to grade themselves with an A or a B (62%) than those who weren’t (21%).


Additionally, when workers feel that they are able to comfortably explore their personal interests in the office, they find themselves more excited about their professional lives. Almost half (47 percent) of Americans state they are motivated to go to their current job by “living their passions, which are reflected in their work.” Despite the value Americans find in living their passions in their work, most (61 percent) are only able to do so some of the time or not at all, suggesting an opportunity for businesses willing to engage their employees’ interests as a means to improve productivity and company results.


Philips is actively recruiting across diverse disciplines such as engineering, solutions selling, quality and regulatory, and marketing. Those looking for a more meaningful career path can learn more at or @PhilipsJobsNA.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Q4 2012 & Global Talent 2021 Report by Oxford Economics, 2012

Media Contact

Amy Shanler
Director, Public and Media Relations, Philips North America



The survey was conducted by telephone in partnership with Braun Research Inc. The survey included a national sample of 1,000 working Americans, living in the continental United States. An oversample of 200 working Americans living in Boston was also captured in addition to the national sample. Interviewing for this survey was completed 20th – 28th March, 2013. Data reported as representative of the total sample have been weighted to reflect a nationally representative sample of working Americans.



About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2012 sales of EUR 24.8 billion and employs approximately 116,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at


You are about to visit a Philips global content page

You are about to visit the Philips USA website.

Our site can best be viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.