Diverse people participating in a group business training session

When over 34,000 workers in 18 countries were asked to pick the most important aspects of a job, salary came out on top, with more than half of workers (55%) ranking it in their top three. ADP’s latest People at Work report also found that salary is the greatest pain point for workers — four in 10 of those who say salary is important are unhappy with their current pay. 

Even as inflation slows, workers have high hopes for salary increases this year. The average pay raise last year was about 4%, but the average expected raise this year is higher, at 5%. In addition, fewer workers experienced no change in their pay this year compared to a year ago (26%, down from 32%). 

Job security came in as the second highest priority for workers, with 46% ranking it as important. Fewer workers in all surveyed regions are experiencing job insecurity — in North America, the percentage fell from 33% in 2022 to 23% in 2023. However, remote workers are 1.3 times more likely than hybrid or on-site workers to worry about job insecurity. 

Workers also listed career progression (34%) as a top priority. Although most workers (60%) believe they have the necessary skills to advance their career over the next three years, nearly half (47%) say their employer isn’t investing in the skills they need. 

Other highlights from the report include: 

  • AI in the workplace: Workers have mixed feelings about what role AI will take over the next two to three years — while some expect AI to help save time daily (19%) and occasionally assist with certain tasks (25%), others believe it will replace some (28%) or most (13%) of their current functions.
  • Return-to-office: The percentage of fully on-site workers increased from 52% to 55% in 2023, likely due to a lesser percentage of hybrid workers. Meanwhile, the share of remote workers held steady at 12%.
  • Stress: Half of workers feel stressed at work, with 15% experiencing high stress every day. The percentage of those experiencing significant stress is especially high in the United States, at 22%. 

For more insights, see the full report