Workers Will Trade Pay For Social Mission

08 Oct, 2016


Workers Will Trade Pay For Social Mission

Here’s another way a strong commitment to social responsibility can benefit the bottom line: Potential employees are willing to accept lower wages to work for companies with a strong social mission.

That’s the conclusion of a study slated for forthcoming publication as a Columbia Business School Research Paper.

The research also seems to show that the appeal is greatest for “the highest performers” — meaning, of course, those who make the most money.

In the study, workers were recruited for short-term jobs and provided with information about the potential employer. In one phase of the research, participants were willing to work for 44 percent less for the same job after learning about the employers’ commitment to social responsibility.

Not only do workers value social responsibility in an employer, Columbia researcher Vanessa Burbano finds; they also “are willing to give up pecuniary benefits” to work for such an employer.

Finally, the research challenges the conventional notion that it is only “altruistic” people who want to work for companies with a strong social mission, which explains the connection. In fact, “purely self-interested” job seekers can nevertheless be moved by a potential employer’s commitment to being a good corporate citizen.