When launching their careers, only 16 per cent
of today’s under-30 workforce believe salary is the most important factor in a
job. This is down significantly from the 25 per cent of workers over 40 who
say salary was their primary consideration when they started out.

This shift in values is revealed in a new national career survey
conducted by Decima Research for RSM Richter, one of Canada’s largest
independent accounting, business advisory and consulting firms. The survey
directly compares the career priorities of the under-30 and over-40 age

Carried out between July 20 and July 29, 2007, Canadians under 30 and
over 40 were asked to rank the most important things a company could offer for
them to consider an employment opportunity.
“Money can’t buy you happiness, and these days it can’t buy young talent
either,” said Lisa Fusina, Human Resources Manager, RSM Richter –
Toronto/Calgary. “Because money is less of a motivator for young professionals
than ever before, we find smart businesses paying more attention to career and
professional development issues to attract this new generation of workers.”

The survey found when people over the age of 40 were seeking their first
jobs, monetary compensation was higher on their list of importance than it is
for people under 30 today. This suggests that the younger workforce may not be
swayed by offers of a better starting salary; they value opportunities for
career growth and professional development far more highly than a bigger pay

When asked what the most important thing a company could offer, findings

Most important factor when Under 30 Over 40
starting a career (looking back)

A job with high monetary compensation 16 per cent 25 per cent

Career growth & professional development 37 per cent 30 per cent

Direct access to senior management 5 per cent 4 per cent

Access to senior management a surprisingly low priority

Ranked last as the most important thing a company could offer for both
respondent groups was direct access to senior management.
“The relatively low priority of direct access to senior management was a
surprise to us,” said Cherine Zananiri, Manager of Human Resources, RSM
Richter – Montreal. “At RSM Richter, we find there’s a direct correlation to
career growth by having the ability and opportunity to engage senior partners
in day-to-day decision making.”