How Do Aspects Of Life At Work Affect Talent-Employer Compatibility?

Exploring how life at work affects talent-employer compatibility.


How do aspects of life at work affect talent-employer compatibility?
This study begins to explore how aspects of life at work affect talent-employer compatibility, and it helps us understand:

1. The aspects of life at work that talent see as most important.
2. Ways that employers can improve talent-employer compatibility.
3. Whether talent are more compatible with their current employers than with their former employers.

Aspects of life at work
Ten important aspects of life at work are:

1. A clear career path
2. A high salary
3. A manageable workload
4. Clear promotion criteria
5. Good supervisors and managers
6. Job autonomy
7. Job security
8. Opportunities for promotion
9. Training and development opportunities
10. Work-life balance

The current study
Participants completed an online survey in which they rated how important aspects of life at work, listed above, are to them. Participants also rated how important these work aspects are to their current or former employers. 74.2% of participants rated a current employer and 25.8% of participants rated a former employer.
Participants made the importance ratings on a 5-point Likert-type scale where:

1 = not important at all
2 = of little importance
3 = of average importance
4 = very important
5 = absolutely essential

The participant sample
The sample consisted of 264 usable responses from members of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk),’s e-lancing service. Each MTurk member, or MTurker, received $0.50 in exchange for participating in the survey.

MTurkers reported the following demographic characteristics:
Gender 53.0% men
44.0% women
3.0% did not report
Education 55.6% Bachelor’s degree or higher
41.4% Less than a Bachelor’s degree
3.0% did not report
Job Level 66.2% Individual contributor
19.9% Manager
10.9% Other (e.g., self-employed, unemployed, or student)
3.0% did not report

The chart below, Importance of Aspects of Life at Work, shows how important each work aspect is to talent compared to employers. 

Key takeaways
1. In aggregate, aspects of life at work appear to be more important to talent than talent think they are to employers.
2. The 3 most important work aspects to talent are:
     a. Good supervisors and managers;
     b. Job security; and,
     c. Work-life balance.
3. Talent perceive former employers to place less importance on aspects of life at work than they perceive current employers to do.

Potential implications

1. Talent seemed to value aspects of life at work more than did employers, which suggests that talent might expect more than employers can provide, or that employers choose not to provide what talent think is important.
2. In the absence of other information, employers should focus on leadership development or selection because talent view good supervisors and managers as the most important aspect of life at work.
3. Talent rated former employers more negatively than current employers, which supports the idea that talent leave when employers do not deliver on what talent think is important.

Caveats and limitations

1. The sample size was small (N = 264).
2. MTurkers are not representative of the overall working population.
3. Respondents rated themselves and their employers.

Next steps
In order to understand the implications of talent-employer compatibility, more data must be collected from a wider range of people. Furthermore, ratings from two separate sources would likely increase the validity of the results. For example, participants’ ratings of how important work aspects are to them could be compared to others’ ratings of how important work aspects are to that employer.

Invitation to participate
If you are interested in exploring talent-employer compatibility, you are invited to participate in the follow-up survey located here:
In this 6 minute survey, you will rate how important work aspects are to you and to a current or former employer. Your responses will be aggregated and shared with the community in a follow-up post. You have the option to receive a report that summarizes the compatibility between you and the employer that you rate. You also have the option to participate in a drawing for two $50 gift cards.
For more information, see


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