Finally, your company does not understand what the candidates want. Many studies have been done of Gen X and Y to see what is important to them. When compared side by side with what most employers think is important, the correlation is closer to the opposite than to lining up. Prestige, power, salary, and so on, the things that are important to boomers, rank near the bottom of the list for X and Y. They are looking for things like flexible hours, relationships with colleagues and interesting work. When companies try to woo them with an offer that represents a 10 percent boost in pay, with a better 401(k) match than what they have now, they are shocked when the candidate turns that down.I never had a chance to comment on this portion of the article, but I don't think it's as demonstrative as Mr. Sturgeon thinks. To be honest, a 10% pay raise plus a better 401 (k) match wouldn't necessarily get me to quit my job and move to another company either. (Did that really work for baby boomers?) It obviously depends on the other circumstances of the position. Now, if you doubled my pay... (And who's to say that top performers did not immediately turn around to their own management and use the new offer as leverage for their current position?)
This also brings to mind the really interesting survey that See Arr Oh posted; he also compiled all the different motivating factors into a nice list -- I'll quote the top 5 below:
1. Meaningfulness of work (28%)I agree with this list, and it doesn't surprise me at all. It matches nicely with the theory of Dan Pink's "Drive" (reviewed in a great post by Lisa Balbes at ACS Careers Blog) that people are motivated best by autonomy, mastery and purpose.
2. Good coworkers (14%)
3. Commute/location (13%)
4. Salary (11%)
5. Stability (9%)
There are a couple of things I wanted to mention from See Arr Oh's survey. First, he asked for "top two workplace criteria", which 42 different people happily listed in the comments. I suspect that a more directly-on-point question may have been "Currently employed industrial chemists, what improved conditions would get (or have gotten) you to leave your current position for a new employer?" In those cases, I suspect that "meaningfulness of work" may have fallen and "commute/location", "salary" and "stability" may have risen.
Also, I wonder if there is a stated preference/revealed preference problem. ("Stated preference" refers to what people say, whereas "revealed preference" refers to what people actually do.*) Perhaps I am transferring my own internal struggles, but I wonder if relatively young chemists have had the same difficulties as I in aligning their ideals (loyalty and perseverance, for example) with the choices laid before them? Do people have as much ambivalence as I do about expressing how important their income level might be to them? Either way, there is nothing quite as revealing about oneself as the choice between "Do I stay with my current job?" or "Leave for greener pastures."
*Here's a nice example where people say they want to help the environment by purchasing "greener" products (stated preference), but when they're charged more for them, no sale! (revealed preference)