Health care and security top money when it comes to American workers’ priorities, according to a new survey from The Center for State and Local Government Excellence.

The report,
Security: what Americans want from a job, examines 15 job characteristics: among them, 84% of Americans rate “the health insurance plan” as the #1 aspect of a job. Coming in second place are job security and working in an environment with clear policies.

Retirement security comes in fourth place with 76% of workers ranking pensions as “very important.” Americans rank a family-friendly workplace in fifth place of the 15 job characteristics.

“How much one is paid” comes in at 10th place.

The Center finds that Americans now value security over all: “Whether that security comes from health insurance, job security, the promise of a retirement income or clear work policies, Americans want a lot more than just a paycheck from their employment.”

Health Populi’s Hot Points: While security seems to be top-of-mind in the 21st century American worker’s mind, there is another aspect of the worker’s mentality worth recognizing: work-life balance, which is represented by the desire for more family time (with 71% of workers rating as very important); and, contribution to society, which 64% of workers rank highly– just one percentage point behind compensation. Could these be signs that the mainstream American mindset it moving toward more of a “lifeboat” concept vs. a 1980s Me-Decade scenario? While I doubt we’re becoming more Scandinavian relative to taxation and benefits, the data in this report could indicate a sea-change in Americans’ views on the community-at-large versus the individual. This would be a rational response in our post-9/11, health insecurity era.