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Why happiness of pay rise is short-lived
A pay rise only leads to short-term satisfaction before the rut sets in again, according to a new study. With a rise comes a re-evaluation of status and you soon begin to start comparing your levels of pay to colleague’s again.
However workers who are happy with their pay are less likely to have work and family conflicts, according to researchers.
Scientists say how much a worker actually earns is just as important as how satisfied they are with their pay in determining their happiness.
Professor Amit Kramer, of the University of Illinois, said: `Pay, as you might expect, is a relative thing.
`I think most people would agree that a certain level of pay that allows you to meet your needs is critical. However, beyond that level, relative pay becomes an issue and with it, perception of pay or pay satisfaction.`
But once workers achieve a sufficient level of pay, they shift their focus from what their pay allows them to do to other focal points – such as how much their colleagues earn.
Professor Kramer explained: `It becomes ‘my pay’ compared to others; ‘my pay’ compared to the effort I invest; ‘my pay’ compared to the things I give up and miss in life for the opportunity cost of working.
And the study reveals the effect of a pay rise on pay satisfaction only has a moderate relationship that does not last very long.
As an example, when employees change jobs, they re-evaluate their pay and are more likely to change their pay satisfaction, not necessarily because they get a raise, but because of the social aspect of pay.
And even workers who earn a lot have high levels of family-work conflict because they also perceive inequality among colleagues.
Professor Kramer said: `If employees perceive work as a sacrifice they have to make, then the work environment itself is not ideal.`
He believes employers should understand the sacrifices their workers make and offer different work arrangements and policies to compensate.