Americans Overwhelmingly Value Money over Time

Majority of Americans unwilling to forfeit salary for more free time, according to survey by Accounting Principals

Apr 01, 2014, 09:00 ET from Accounting Principals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- An overwhelming majority of Americans (79 percent) would prefer a 5 percent raise over an entire extra week of paid vacation (20 percent), according to the latest Workonomix survey from Accounting Principals. Further, according to the survey, workers value financial compensation so much more than time away from work, money is what they focus on most in job negotiation – results show Americans are more likely to negotiate salary (30 percent) rather than a flexible schedule (15 percent) or additional time off (10 percent).

Even if they only had to forfeit a very small portion of their salary for extra time off, Americans would still prefer to keep the money.  According to the survey, 85 percent of respondents would not forfeit any amount of their salary for their work day to be shortened by one hour. Of those, 50 percent said they can't afford it and 35 percent are simply not interested. Similarly, 77 percent are unwilling to give up any amount of salary for their work week to be shortened by one day.

"We are now more than five years after the recession began and while unemployment numbers continue to decrease, working Americans are clearly still feeling financially insecure," said Jodi Chavez, senior vice president, Accounting Principals. "For these hard workers, the value of that extra money in their pocket to help with bills or put toward savings far outweighs any other type of perk, such as more vacation time or a shorter work week."

Much of this thinking is likely due to the fact that respondents believe they are not fully feeling the benefit of extra money they've already received. According to the survey, though 58 percent of Americans received a raise last year, only 16 percent believe it improved their lifestyle. Of those who received a raise, 29 percent put it toward helping with daily living expenses, 21 percent put toward savings, and 18 percent paid off debts. Millennials were most likely (27 percent) to cite feeling an improvement in their lifestyle from a raise, compared to older generations - Gen X (18 percent) and Baby Boomers (10 percent).

Other findings related to the value of extra time include:

The verdict is still out on napping at work. Of those surveyed, 48 percent said they would take a nap during the workday if permitted, while 49 percent said they would not. Interestingly, the overwhelming reason for not taking a nap is not needing it (42 percent) vs. being concerned about what management thinks (7 percent).

Workers catch a snooze where they can.  American workers are most likely to take a nap in their car (18 percent), office chair (16 percent) or break room (11 percent).  They are less likely to stoop to sleeping under their desk (3 percent) or in the equipment room (1 percent).

Time is important to Americans —if they're spending it with family.  When asked what they would do if they had an extra free hour a day, 48 percent of Americans said they would spend it with their family, while 45 percent said they would run errands.  Gender impacts the way Americans would spend their extra time. Men were more likely to spend time watching TV (25 percent men versus 18 percent women) while women were more likely to run errands (38 percent men versus 51 percent women).

Staying Fit is a Priority. One-third (33 percent) of American workers said they would go to the gym if they had an extra hour every day. Similarly, 28 percent of Americans want a gym at their workplace because it saves time, outweighing other options such as an onsite cafeteria (13 percent) and onsite doctor or health services (10 percent).

"Workers may be ultimately choosing money over time, but they still highly value and prioritize what they do with their spare time," said Chavez. "Giving employees a few options for workplace perks that help them maximize their time between work and life will help keep them satisfied and motivated."

This survey of 1,024 working adults, aged 18 and older, was conducted by telephone from January 17-27, 2014. The margin for error is +/- 3.1 percent.

About Accounting Principals
Accounting Principals is a leader in the recruitment and placement of accounting and finance professionals, offering a complete range of workforce solutions in accounting, finance, mortgage and banking. Our nationwide branch network consists of experienced professionals that average five years of real-world accounting experience plus more than five years of finance and accounting recruitment experience. In addition to providing clients with a combination of temporary staffing, temp-to-hire and direct placement services, Accounting Principals also helps clients overcome their challenges through an in-depth understanding of their business needs. For more information, please visit

About Braun Research, Inc. (BRI)
BRI is a well-respected and internationally recognized firm that employs techniques and standards approved by leading survey research academic organizations in the world. BRI is an active member in a number of respected organizations throughout the industry, including The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), Council on Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) and Council on American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO).

SOURCE Accounting Principals