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The Rise of Meaningful Work: How to Attract Top Talent and Increase Productivity

Updated: Mar 10, 2023

There are three significant shifts that have occurred in the workplace over the years one of which is happening right now. If you understand this you can ride the wave and stand out as a great business with great people.

As illustrated in the graph, there have been three main changes over the past 100 years(ish).

1 - The Demand For Any Work: In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were high levels of poverty and low levels of job vacancies. People were desperate for money and were willing to work in any capacity, regardless of the pay or the nature of the work.

2 - The Demand For Fair Pay & Work: As poverty levels decreased and the economy improved, there was a shift to a demand for fair pay and work. Employees got more discerning about the quality of their work and they got more rights. Workplaces, conditions and pay had to become better but people still worried about not having a job and worked to survive.

3 - The Demand For Meaningful Work: We are currently experiencing an unprecedented dynamic in which there are more job vacancies than unemployed individuals. This is part of the driving force behind the new demand for meaningful work.

This shift towards meaningful work has been influenced by a variety of factors, including technological advancements and changing mindsets. Millennials are more socially and corporately responsible and are looking to make a difference in the world. People no longer need to work just to maintain a basic quality of life, and pay is no longer the primary driving force for many workers. High levels of statistics show that up to 65% of employees would consider taking a pay cut to go to a job that is more aligned with their values or is more meaningful. 50% of those would take up to a 10% pay cut to go to a more meaningful job.

Employers must recognise and adapt to this shift in the employment landscape. Meaningful work, rather than just perks or more pay, is what people are searching for. This is good news because even if you're not in a high-paying sector, by creating meaningful work you can still make your company a great place to work and attract top talent. Consider the fact that we wouldn't have a voluntary sector, charities, or an NHS if we didn't have a workforce driven by meaningful work.

To be at the forefront of this change, businesses must recognise the importance of creating a work environment that promotes employee engagement as much as sales. By doing so, companies can attract and retain top talent and increase their productivity. The choice is yours: either lead the way in embracing this shift towards meaningful work and reap the benefits, or wait for it to happen and feel like the people aspect of your business is an uphill battle.

Are you creating meaningful work and a great place to work? Find out how well you’re doing and key areas for improvement in just 2 minutes by taking our free scorecard:


Mike Jones Better Happy Founder

Mike founded Better Happy in 2018.

He now works with a variety of businesses ranging from small accountancies up to large organisations such as Travelodge on improving employee happiness. Mike's vision and the vision of Better Happy is 'Every employee happy, every business thriving'

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