High Pay or Happiness….Which Would you Choose?

24 April 2023 | 15 Shares

How much is happiness worth to you?  A recent YouGov poll asked if people would rather have a high paying job they hate, or a low paying job they love.

Of the 33,000 polled, half opted for love. A quarter said they’d prefer to earn more in a job they didn’t like. The rest couldn’t decide.

Age had a lot to do with it. Older adults were more likely than younger ones to say they’d be willing to sacrifice a high salary for a job they love.

Could it be that over 55s are more likely to have their mortgage paid off, their kids educated, and their savings accrued? Or maybe their additional life experience––having more likely suffered loss and grief––is what informs their thinking.


For most of us however, it’s less a question of “either or”, and more about balance.

When pollster Gallup asked last year what people wanted from their next job, 64% said a significant increase in income or benefits was very important to them. But greater work life balance and personal wellbeing came a close second, at 61%.

This year the World Economic Forum surveyed 35,000 employees across 15 countries. It found desire for a good work life balance has held up, despite concerns about economic downturn and inflation.

Job security topped its poll. Yet despite this well over half (61%) of respondents said they wouldn’t even take a job if it disrupted their work life balance.

Values matter

A sense of belonging matters too, with more than half (54%) saying they would leave if they didn’t think they belonged, and 42% won’t even accept a job from an employer whose values don’t align with their own.

Sustainability, diversity and transparency were important to three quarters of respondents but here too, age is a factor. Almost half of Gen Zs would refuse to work for an employer that wasn’t making enough effort to be more sustainable. Only 35% of over 45s feel the same way.

Research firm Gartner suggests that after last year’s Great Resignation, we’re now in the “Great Reflection”, where people are asking such questions as, “what makes me happy and whole”, and, “where have I given away too much of myself for little return?”.

Its experts reckon the last three years have been a “catalyst to elevate personal purpose and values”.


Source: Shutterstock

Here 82% of respondents said it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, and not just an employee. But only 45% of them felt that is actually the case, leading some to vote with their feet, and leave.

If you’re thinking of voting with your feet, here are three great options below, with loads more on the TechHQ Job Board. Or take a look at some of the opportunities available here:

Online Software Engineer, Electronic Arts, Orlando FL

Just because it makes games doesn’t mean working at Electronic Arts (EA) is all play but, as it says, “It does make every day a little bit more fun”.

The company has a number of open roles including one for an Online Software Engineer, which will see you involved in the whole creation process from architecture design, implementation, debugging, and tuning on multiple platforms and devices.

EA believes its strength lies in the diversity of its people, and it focuses on making an impact fighting bias, discrimination and injustice in today’s world.

It is committed to inclusive hiring, and is working towards providing greater working flexibility. Fair play.

ITOT Specialized Applications Lead, Genentech, Vacaville, CA

For work with purpose it’s hard to beat the medical sector. Biotech company Genentech makes medicines for serious and life-threatening diseases.

It offers an active CSR (corporate social responsibility) programme; a science based approach to environmental sustainability; competitive salary and comprehensive benefits.

Genentech is seeking a highly motivated engineer to take on the role of the IT OT Specialized Application Lead to own customized applications that interface with manufacturing system platforms such as OSI PI (plant historian), Syncade (MES), DeltaV (distributed control system), PLC’s, lab data systems (Smartline Data Cockpit) using OPC or other middleware.

You’ll be skilled at scripting and programming preferably in a manufacturing systems environment (Java, C++, Python, PowerShell).

Work life balance here is supported by wellness resources, good holidays, and a health inducing six-week sabbatical after every six years with the company.

Senior Software Engineer, Duolingo, Pittsburgh, PA

Language learning app Duolingo’s 500-plus employees come from more than 30 countries, so diversity is at its heart. More than half of its employees are women or people of color, and women are represented at all levels of company leadership.

Its mission is to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available. Which is where the need for a Senior Software Engineer comes in.

As a backend engineer on its security team, you will develop tools to help the company maintain confidentiality, data integrity, and availability across all Duolingo services and platforms.

In return, a range of benefits are available including medical, dental and vision; therapy sessions and coaching; 401(k)with generous match and immediate vesting, 20 days of paid time off, and two additional weeks off for winter break. All that and competitive salaries too.

You shouldn’t have to choose.

Check out the TechHQ Job Board for more interesting opportunities that offer a combination of both pay and happiness.