Hot Issues of Skills Development

This page provides summaries of previous and relevant research on skills development.

SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] home Hot Issues of Skills Development Meaning and Rewards of the Job

Meaning and Rewards of the Job Aya Mizutani
  • Skills Needed in Labour Market and Issues Related to Skills of Workers

The importance of engagement and motivation in the workplace has been reported in many papers in relation to employee performance, organizational environment, and firm-level productivity (Ovidiu 2013, Bawa & Bawa 2017). Related to this, many management-related papers and blogs have also discussed what is important to increase engagement and motivation.

For example, Terkel states that not only monetary rewards but also the meaning of work is important in motivating people in the workplace (1974). In addition, Shawn et al. found that 9 out of 10 people would be willing to take a more meaningful job even if it meant a lower salary. They also said that on average, people would be willing to trade 23% of their lifetime wages for a job that would always be meaningful to them.

Ariely, a famous behavioral economist, found that people place more importance on meaning than on reward. He confirmed that if the subjects did not get confirmation of their achievements or were made to feel that their achievements were nothing, they would not want to do the job anymore even if they were rewarded. According to a 2019 survey by the Japanese recruiting company en Japan, 89% of respondents said they would continue to work even if they were guaranteed the basic income.

This may indicate that the meaning of work is becoming more and more important than the monetary rewards.Although these papers focus on workers in developed countries, the tendency to seek work environment and meaning in work rather than monetary rewards is also observed in developing countries.

Maloney (2004) conducted a study on informal sector workers in Latin America and pointed out that the previous perception of the informal sector was that they were economically vulnerable, insufficiently skilled, and spilling over from the formal sector, but this perception was one-sided. He pointed out that there are some workers who engage in the informal sector as an entrepreneurial venture, where the individual worker chooses it as a means to achieve what he or she wants to do as a job, rather than engaging in wage-based predetermined tasks. Meagher (2013) also depicts urban workers in Nigeria who choose the informal sector rather than the formal sector due to their historical and regional contexts. Thus, as studies have reported that even in developing countries, workers choose their preferred work content and environment rather than a stable work environment with wages, it is important to consider the meaning of work for individual workers.