Do you work for love and not money?

  • Post published:23/04/2012
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Do you work to live or live to work? When I see this quote I’m reminded about the many stories I read on generations at work. Of course, you have already heard about Gen Y (those up to 35 years of age) who come to work with a different mind set than the Baby Boomers (those over 50). Research says that Gen Y work to live whilst Baby Boomers live to work. Think about it, read it again. It’s true.

My musings this month are somewhat late because I have just returned from Melbourne, Australia. It was my annual leave actually. I came across an interesting article in one of the newspapers. It was titled Working For Love Not Money and referred to a new survey where Aussies confirmed that it is the passion for what they do and not how much they earn that matters most in their career. The survey was conducted by CoreData for CPA Australia.

So what about you? If you had the choice of only one or the other, do you work for love or for the money?

Frederick Herzberg’s book ‘The Motivation to Work’, was written 50 years ago and first established the theories about motivation in the workplace. Frederick Herzberg (1923-2000), was American and a clinical psychologist and pioneer of ‘job enrichment’. He is still regarded as one of the great original thinkers in management and motivational theories.

Herzberg’s research proved that people will strive to achieve ‘hygiene’ needs because they are unhappy without them, but once satisfied the effect soon wears off. Satisfaction is temporary.

Examples of Herzberg’s ‘hygiene’ needs (or maintenance factors) in the workplace are:


  • relationship with supervisor
  • work conditions
  • salary
  • company car
  • security
  • relationship with subordinates

Herzberg’s research identified that true motivators were other completely different factors, notably:

  • achievement
  • recognition
  • work itself
  • responsibility
  • advancement

Now you may ask why salary is under ‘hygiene’ needs and not a motivator. Herzberg addressed salary in particular and acknowledged the complexity of the salary issue. He concluded that money is not a motivator in the way that the primary motivators are, such as achievement and recognition. In other words, once you have a fair salary it’s not a motivator. However, if you feel under paid, it’s a dissatisfier.This is how Herzberg said it:

“Salary as a factor belongs more in the hygiene group that defines the job situation and therefore is primarily a dissatisfier.”

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.