21 February 2024

In my many years in recruitment, often job seekers tell me their top motivation to find a new job is to enhance their salary or package. In fact, in our ship management, maritime sales and naval architecture surveys, it was rated as the top motivator by job-seeking respondents.

While financial considerations hold undeniable weight, I see in practice that the fundamental aspects that contribute to long-term job satisfaction extend far beyond monetary compensation. Reward or compensation is an extrinsic motivator, and one that’s power can only hold up for so long.

When I get into deeper conversations with people, it is the intrinsic motivators, why they get up in the morning, that start to shine through as the true motivator for their job search.

What are intrinsic motivators in a job search?

Intrinsic motivators vary between people, but the most common I see that underpin individuals' career decisions are:

  • Career growth and challenges

  • Work-life balance

  • Relationships

Career growth and challenges

The pursuit of career growth is an important aspect of job satisfaction. While the initial excitement of starting a new job is undeniable, the potential for advancement and skill development plays a pivotal role in sustaining long-term engagement. Individuals are drawn to opportunities that challenge them intellectually, enable them to expand their skill set, and provide a clear pathway for progression.

Career growth is not solely about climbing the corporate ladder but also about personal and professional development. Mark Charman, CEO & Founder of Faststream, shared his concept of ‘micro-markers’. He revealed that in today’s contemporary employment market; people want to see their careers grow and feel more successful by making progressive steps. This could be from learning opportunities, mentoring, training, new challenges, attending events, gaining more responsibility or managing projects.

We found in our senior maritime executive survey, that a new ‘Challenge’ was the top motivator for senior executives to want to change jobs. Challenges in our jobs, even for executives, often present opportunities to learn, adapt, and grow. Overcoming challenges often requires the acquisition of new skills, knowledge, and experiences. It is not hard to see why this is becoming more important for people when they are seeking roles. The journey of career growth is characterised by continuous learning and self-improvement.

Career Growth and Challenges in Maritime - Faststream Recruitment

Work-life balance

At the heart of career fulfilment lies the concept of work-life balance. In today's fast-paced world, achieving cohesion between professional commitments and personal pursuits is increasingly becoming a priority for individuals seeking job satisfaction. A job that respects boundaries and offers flexibility enables individuals to lead fulfilling lives beyond the confines of the workplace. Whether it's the ability to attend to family responsibilities, pursue hobbies, or simply unwind after a long day, a healthy work-life balance nurtures overall well-being and prevents burnout.

The significance of work-life balance is underscored by its impact on mental and physical health. Chronic stress resulting from an imbalance between work and personal life can lead to a myriad of health issues, including anxiety and depression. Recognising the importance of maintaining equilibrium, employers are increasingly incorporating policies and practices that support work-life balance, such as flexible working hours, and wellness programmes. By prioritising employees' well-being, businesses not only foster a positive work environment but also enhance productivity and retention rates.

Work-Life Balance in Maritime - Faststream Recruitment


In addition to work-life balance and career growth, the quality of interpersonal relationships within the workplace significantly influences individuals' job satisfaction. Colleagues, managers, suppliers, and customers collectively contribute to the social fabric of the work environment. Positive interactions characterised by trust, respect, and collaboration foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among employees.

Building meaningful relationships in the workplace not only enhances job satisfaction but also contributes to business success. Effective communication, teamwork, and mutual support are essential ingredients for achieving common goals and overcoming challenges. Moreover, cultivating strong relationships with customers and suppliers fosters a sense of partnership and loyalty, driving business growth and success.

Relationships at Work in Maritime - Faststream Recruitment

Extrinsic versus Intrinsic motivations

While extrinsic rewards such as salary and benefits are undeniably important, they often pale in comparison to the intrinsic motivations that drive individuals in their careers. Intrinsic factors such as passion, purpose, and autonomy hold far greater significance in fostering long-term job satisfaction and fulfilment. Individuals are drawn to roles that align with their values, allow them to make a meaningful impact, and provide a sense of autonomy and creative expression.

Recognising the importance of intrinsic motivations, progressive businesses are redefining their approach to talent management. Rather than solely focusing on monetary incentives, they are placing greater emphasis on creating a work culture that values purpose-driven work, personal growth, and meaningful contributions. By aligning business goals with employees' intrinsic motivations, companies can foster a sense of purpose and engagement that transcends financial considerations.

Intrinsic versus Extrinisc Motivations at Work - Faststream Recruitment

Final thoughts

While financial remuneration is a necessary component of any job, it rarely emerges as the fundamental aspect of career satisfaction. Instead, the pursuit of a fulfilling career involves a delicate balance of work-life, growth opportunities, and creating and nurturing meaningful relationships.

By prioritising these intrinsic motivations, individuals can embark on a journey towards career fulfilment that transcends monetary considerations and leads to a more fulfilling and rewarding professional life.

Final Thoughts - Faststream Recruitment

​What next?

If you are looking for a new role in the Asia-Pacific region, you can search for jobs and set up job alerts here:

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If you need help with recruitment in the Asia-Pacific region, please get in touch:

Contact Lorenzo Agatiello

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