There’s no getting around the fact that almost everyone needs to earn a paycheck. But some workers are lucky enough to hold down a nine-to-five that does more than just put food on the table; these workers believe their job helps make the world a better place.
From October of 2014 to October of 2016, PayScale surveyed more than 466,000 American workers, posing the question “Does your work make the world a better place?” and asking them to choose one of the following responses:
- Very much so
- A little
- My job may make the world a worse place
This report details which workers most believe their job has the greatest meaning, the median salary associated with those jobs, and more.
Most American Workers Believe Their Job Is Making the World a Better Place
When asked if their job makes the world a better place, 54 percent of American workers reported high job meaning, with 38 percent responding “Yes” and 16 percent responding “Very much so.”
Interestingly, workers who responded “Yes” had the highest median pay of all survey respondents, at $50,600, followed by those who said “Very much so”, at $49,700. (The 1 percent of workers who answered, “My job may make the world a worse place,” had the lowest median salary, at $40,600.)
Workers Who Most Believe Their Jobs Are Making the World Better
The three specific job titles with highest percentage of workers who strongly feel their job makes the world a better place are Youth Ministers, COOs of Non-Profit Organizations, and Volunteer Coordinators.
Workers who most feel they improve the world: Youth Ministers, Non-Profit COOs, Volunteer Coordinators
Other jobs landing in the top 10 on our list include more religious officials (Pastors, Ministry Directors), upper management at non-profit organizations (Executive Directors, Program Directors), and educational management professions (Assistant Principals, Elementary School Principals).
The Top Ten Jobs That Make The World A Better Place
Elementary School Principal
Percent High Job Meaning: 56.7%
Median Pay: $79,700
Percent High Job Meaning: 58.9%
Median Pay: $66,500
Percent High Job Meaning: 59.5%
Median Pay: $32,300
Percent High Job Meaning: 60.7%
Median Pay: $34,200
Percent High Job Meaning: 62.3%
Median Pay: $69,800
Executive Director, Non-Profit
Percent High Job Meaning: 63.6%
Median Pay: $62,700
Percent High Job Meaning: 65.4%
Median Pay: $45,200
Percent High Job Meaning: 66.7%
Median Pay: $34,800
Chief Operating Officer, Non-Profit
Percent High Job Meaning: 67.7%
Median Pay: $95,600
Percent High Job Meaning: 77.1%
Median Pay: $34,400
Industries With Workers Who Believe They’re Making the World Better
In general, industries that aid social, religious, and public safety activities tend to have the highest percentages of workers who strongly feel (“Very Much So”) that their work makes the world a better place. At the top of the list, Community Food Services (56 percent “Very much so”), Grantmaking Foundations (51 percent “Very much so”), and Human Rights Organizations (50 percent “Very much so”).
How Job Meaning Impacts Job Satisfaction
Perhaps not surprisingly, high job meaning—believing your job makes the world a better place—equates to high job satisfaction. Eighty-five percent of workers who reported they “Very much so” believe their job is making the world a better place also said they were “Extremely Satisfied” or “Fairly Satisfied” with their jobs. Conversely, workers who said “My job may make the world a worse place” reported only 29 percent job satisfaction.
How Job Meaning Impacts Employee Retention
If workers believe they’re doing good, they’re far less likely to be seeking a new job in the next six months. Sixty-one percent of employees who said their job “Very much so” makes the world a better place said they do not plan to seek a new job outside their current company within the next six months, the highest percentage of all workers surveyed. The second highest percentage of workers planning to stay in their current job was reported by those who answered “Yes” to the same question; 55 percent of these workers intend to stay put. By way of comparison, only 20 percent of workers who believe their job may make the world a worse place intend to remain in their current job for more than six months.
61% of workers who feel their job makes the world better have no immediate plans to leave their job.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think your job makes the world a better place? What is it that you do, and what makes you feel you’re making the world better? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.