What Are Today’s Employees Looking For in a Job?

Salary and benefits matter — but not as much as intangible benefits like company culture, challenging work and career advancement potential.


For the past three years, CE Pro sister publication Commercial Integrator has published an annual list of 40 young superstars in A/V and automation industry, the 40 CI Influencers Under 40.

Recently, CI inquired what employees in the industry value most about their profession — what makes a good employer, what characteristics comprise a good work environment and the most important aspects of their jobs — and polled its 40 Under 40 representatives.

Many of their responses are applicable to their counterparts in the residential A/V and automation sector (whose firms often serve the commercial market as well).

Overall, the respondents put forth some variation on the following words/phrases most often regarding questions about good employers and ideal work environments:

  • Recognition of — and respect for — work/life balance
  • Culture of respectful communication, collaboration and trust
  • Growth opportunities and challenges
  • Culture of inclusion and diversity
  • Flexibility in scheduling, working environment
  • Recognition of the value of training and support
  • Autonomy in a collaborative, team-oriented environment
  • Atmosphere of mutual respect, positive attitudes, integrity
  • Clear, well-defined strategy and business model

In terms of benefits, base salary and healthcare were highly rated, but still lower than intangible benefits including a “sense of accomplishment/fulfillment,” “company culture,” “challenging work” and “career advancement potential.”

In fact, more than 70 percent of respondents gave “sense of accomplishment” a top rating of 5 (highly important) and almost two-thirds assigned a rating of 5 to “company culture.”

Just over one-quarter (26.6 percent) of survey-takers rate themselves as either “capable,” “advanced” or “expert” when it comes to coding skills, while more than one-third (35.6 percent) say they have no experience/capability in coding.

Workforce Study: How to Find and Train the ‘Perfect’ Technician

About 60 percent of respondents say their companies provide formal on-the-job training, and a similar share indicates that they hold one or more certifications, most frequently as a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS).

In addition, around 9 percent of respondents report that they had served in the Armed Forces, with several indicating that they had been introduced to training on the fundamentals of basic electronics while in the service.

One respondent went further, saying, “I feel veterans are built for our industry. They are taught how to deliver on time, work under extreme pressure and never give up or quit.”

Here’s a sampling of answers:

What do you look for in a good employer?

Culture (team-oriented, happy people, positive environment, has a vision for the future of the organization); support in my role (training offered, manager check-ups, autonomy with
lifelines); growth opportunities; great pay with benefits.

A good employer is one that is generous — both in benefits and compensation, as well as time, training and investment in their employees. I look for employers who seek to contribute to you as much as you contribute to them.

A good employer provides a flexible work environment and opportunities for growth. They also provide good communication and foster a culture of trust and collaboration.

What makes for an ideal work environment?

A collaborative environment where the company is looking to take on progressively more difficult challenges, focused on long-term goals and achieving them by continually looking for ways to improve team performance.

A fun environment; I would hope to hear some form of laughter throughout the building each and every day. A competitive environment; hearing spirited conversations about how to approach an opportunity is welcomed.

I work hard and the office is my second home. I enjoy being able to come in and know that there are no standards for what time I come in and what I have to wear — if I have to meet clients I dress up, if I am building racks and programming systems I dress down. Another key for me is having a diverse workforce. I like being surrounded by people of different age, gender, orientation and cultural backgrounds.

Other thoughts on what it takes for an employer to recruit and retain skilled and valuable employees?

Everything is now on the network, EVERYTHING. So if you are an A/V guy and don’t learn networking you will be missing the industry move and relegating yourself to certain failure. A/V techs are soon to become IT techs. So it is important for employers to see this coming trend and provide continuing education in IT and networking. Also, there will be upward pressure on salary as A/V guys become IT guys and then have a whole new job market opened to them once they master the IT side.

I have yet to find the perfect employer. I think it is often a compromise. It is important to have management that is willing to be flexible, take some risks, and be honest with their communication. Don’t pay an employee just enough to take the job; pay them enough to keep them. Also, help them to maintain training to stay up with trends and technology.

Monetary compensation is nice, but compliments and awards go a long way. Let them know when they do a good job, it makes reprimanding them for mistakes sink in more.

Read the Workforce Study to learn more about how to find, train and keep the best employees.

Looking to recruit new talent? Find qualified candidates now! Visit jobs.www.cepro.com.