meta charset="UTF-8"> Spectrum Workplace

The Workplace Blog

Are work friends more important than salary? 8 key insights...

[fa icon="calendar"] 28-Jun-2017 12:50:55 / by Emma Harris

What motivates you at work? Financial reward or happiness in the office? Employee engagement experts at Wildgoose surveyed workers at 120 UK companies to find out:

  • Which is more important at work - Happiness or salary?
  • What is your preferred method of improving worker relationships in the office?

5 key findings on happiness vs salary with commentary in italics.

  • Friends in the workplace survey 2017 1.pngA whopping 61% of workers chose happiness at work over salary.Workers would prefer to be happy and companies need to act accordingly. Work ethos is important. People may now be leaving jobs not just for money, but for a nicer working environment.



  • 45% of men prioritised salary over happiness at work compaFriends in the workplace survery 2017 gender.pngred to 81% of women who felt happiness was more important. Do these results conform to traditional stereotypes?  



  • 85% of managers, directors and business owners surveyed prioritised salary over happiness, compared with 70% of entry-level, interns and executives saying happiness is more important than salary. Does this highlight a potential disassociation between those higher up and those below about what drives motivation?

Friends in the workplace survery 2017 age.png

  • All age groups surveyed value happiness over salary - a whopping 82% of over 45’s chose workplace happiness over salary. Would offering perks instead of financial rewards be the best way to motivate an older demographic?
  • 69% of employees in SME businesses valued happiness over salary, compared to 56% of those in larger firms. Do larger corporations offer more opportunities to socialise?

coffee diary networking chat.png

3 key findings on preferred methods of improving work relationships in the office with commentary in italics.

45% of those surveyed who chose happiness overy salary said that having fter-work drinks once a month was their preferred way to improve office relationships. 

This was closely followed by having a designated breakout area to eat and spend time together. Those not motivated by salary do not need expensive methods of team building. Drinks down the pub / somewhere to chat away from their desk will suffice.
For those more motivated by salary, 30% chose post-work drinks 
clinking bottles.pngas their preferred method of getting to know their colleagues better. 47% said they were either not bothered about improving relationships as they are at work to work, or they would rather keep their personal and work lives separate.  The classic post-work drink remains a popular choice as a means to get to know people yet, surprisingly, nearly half responded negatively towards getting to know their colleagues. This suggests that for those driven by money, getting to know their team mates is less important and they prefer to focus purely on their work.


  • Of 120 employees across all ages, demographics, position and company sizes, when asked what is more important to them at work – salary or happiness – 39% responded salary with 61% choosing happiness. Companies need to think about how to foster a working environment that encourages employees to take their working relationships to the next ‘friendship’ level.

 fist bump.png

Further insights from the Friends in the Workplace survey can be found here. 

If you liked this blog you might like: 

 New Call-to-action

Topics: Productivity, Agile Working, creativity