Work-Life Balance Still Outweighs All Other Factors, Including Compensation, When Considering a New Job

New data from popular career site The Muse’s 2023 user survey reveals generational differences and varying attitudes by gender and race about what matters most to today’s job seekers.

NEW YORK (April 18, 2023) – Despite shifting tides in the economy and a tightening job market, a vast majority (70%) of job seekers still value work-life balance as the most important factor in considering a new job. In addition, more than a quarter of respondents (26%) named lack of flexibility and/or policies regarding WFH or remote work as a factor in deciding to leave an existing job for a new position (second only to a toxic workplace culture).

These are just a few of the more notable findings from a survey of nearly 7,000 employees and job seekers released today from popular job search and career advice site The Muse. The Muse 2023 Annual User Survey sought to uncover how layoffs and economic uncertainty are affecting career plans of today’s workforce and reveal what matters most to job candidates when considering a new job or leaving a current position –and how age, gender and race impact these considerations. 

A comprehensive and illustrated overview of the findings can be found on/downloaded from The Muse HERE, but a few highlights include: 

  • 75% of respondents are planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months, up 10% from last year 
  • 63% of respondents said they are not letting news of the economy impact their plans for looking for a new job, despite the fact that:
    • 63% believe that employees have less power today than a year ago (71% of Gen Z respondents believe this)
    • And 63% believe that hiring has slowed in the past year (71% of Gen Z respondents believe this)
  • However, workers who are earlier in their careers are more likely to be influenced by economic uncertainty shaping the news, as 35% of Gen X and 41% of Millennials said the economy will affect any plans to change jobs, compared to 47% of Gen Z respondents.
  • While every generation except for Baby Boomers rated work-life balance higher than compensation in terms of what workers are looking for in a new job, for Gen Z the disparity is more striking: 60% of workers prioritize work-life balance compared to 40% who said compensation was their No. 1 priority.
  • Toxic workplace culture was the reason most people gave as a factor in their decision to look for another job (34%), especially for Millennials (39%), followed by lack of flexibility and/or policies regarding WFH or remote work (26%).
  • For Gen Z, it’s a fear of future layoffs that is the driving factor to look for another job  – 39% of respondents aged 25 and under named this as the top reason they would look for another job.
  • Race of respondents impacted the importance of other factors (following work-life balance) in choosing a new job, with Black and Asian respondents citing “learning and growth opportunities” second, slightly ahead of compensation, while Hispanic and White respondents chose compensation second by a slight margin (4% and 3%, respectively). White respondents were the only group to rank “Office Culture” within their top three factors when choosing a new job. 

“A huge takeaway from this survey is that the number-one reason employers lose top talent today is by neglecting to show how their company supports flexibility and work-life balance, which 70% of job seekers say is their biggest priority when considering a new role,” said The Muse CEO & Co-Founder Kathryn Minshew. “The Muse was created specifically to solve for this challenge, as it’s the only values-based job-search platform where employers can leverage the top three factors job seekers say they look at to determine if a role is a good fit: testimonials from verified employees, in-depth job descriptions, and details on perks and benefits.”