Skip to main content

© Oliver Wyman

Understanding What Influences Job Decisions: Is Money All that Matters?

Sector: Financial services, Health, Energy, Government, NGO, Consumer goods, Digital and technology, Education, Retail, Media

Team: Owain, Edward, Umar, Eugene

Partner: Oliver Wyman

The Challenge

Our partner was Oliver Wyman, the global management consulting firm. Their objective was to develop a new framework that helped to explain the behavioural forces behind individuals' employment decisions, and in particular what factors beyond financial reward shape people's decisions to enter the labour market and choose particular careers.

The Approach

Working with the Oliver Wyman team, we conducted a literature review, examining the academic literature on labour market decision-making. We then applied the lessons from the review of the literature to tens of real world case studies, including examples of how nation states and large firms have adopted new approaches to attract and retain employees in specific sectors. We then developed a model for explaining labour market decisions. And a practical framework for applying this model to different contexts.

The Result

The framework overturns conventional thinking on labour market decision-making, which tends to over-emphasise the importance of 'extrinsic' rewards, like pay. The framework then brings in the two factors which are usually forgotten, namely the importance of intrinsic motivations (the meaning and purpose we derive from a role); and cultural values (the set of implicit societal rules and guidelines that open up and shut down career paths) in explaining why people choose particular careers.

Read the report here:

"The CogCo team is world class. They bring extensive and deep experience in the behavior science discipline, and perhaps even more importantly, bring a rare practical sense in solving even the most complex of behavior science problems. Its a pleasure and a privilege to work with the team." - Abhishek Sharma, Partner, Oliver Wyman

Read recommended case studies

Helping More People to Save for a Rainy Day

Around a third of all people in the UK have less than £100 in savings – despite savings being a core pillar of financial health. We worked with financial wellbeing app Wagestream to tackle the problem, launching a new feature that would help more than 500,000 frontline workers build up a financial savings buffer.

Interested in working with us?

Get in touch at

Copied to clipboard