Would You Sacrifice Pay to Work for An Ethical Company?

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A new study shows that nearly 9 out of 10 new business grads would.

Researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara polled 759 students graduating from Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programs in both the U.S. and Europe about their job preferences. And even in a still-recovering economy, the results are a glimmer of hope for society. They found that nearly 9 out of 10 students would take a pay cut if it meant they could work for a fair and ethical firm.

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Professors David Montgomery from Stanford and Catherine Remus of UCSB found that 88.3 percent of MBA grads would rather work for a company that dishes out moral values rather than hefty paychecks. And in an era where Goldman Sachs and Raj Rajaratnam have met with much disgrace (not to mention major consequences) after financial wrongdoing, who can blame these young grads? On average, they say they would forego $8,087 per year to work for a clean-cut company.

But however promising these numbers seem, Montgomery and Remus did the same study back in 2008, before the financial collapse. They found that 97.3 percent of students would take a pay cut to work at an ethical company, with an average sacrifice of $14,902 a year.

But really, it’s no shock that the economic downturn has scared new grads into chasing paper. We’re just pleased to know that ethics are still important, too.

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