In 2016, Fairygodboss asked 100 college-educated women what factors were most important to them in a job. Compensation ranked #1 on the list...which was as expected. But from there, the answers were more surprising.

 Listed here in order are the top 9 factors for women when they were asked, “how important were these factors to you in selecting your job?”

1. Compensation

No big surprise here, because of course the main reason we all work is for the money. However, in additional conversations we had with women, it was important for them to believe that they would be compensated equally for their work compared to their male colleagues.

2. Flexibility

Flexibility in the job schedule was highly important to many women in our study. What is very interesting about that is that although many might assume flexibility is mainly important to women with children, flexibility is increasingly important to women - and men - of all ages. Consider this report from Deloitte that shows just how important flexibility is for millennials in deciding whether to take or remain in a job.

3. Good Company Performance

Good company performance means swimming downstream; it also means more opportunities for growth and increased compensation.

4. Opportunities for Professional Development

When women we talk to take on a new role, they are always looking several moves down the road. Where will this role lead them? And what additional credentials or experiences will they need to make it to the next level?

Since women are notoriously promoted based on performance, while men can be promoted on potential alone (according to McKinsey & Co), women realize that they need to be more directed and strategic about their future path.

5. Good Healthcare Benefits

High quality benefits are an essential recruiting tool. But what is more challenging is how to characterize them during the talent attraction or interview phase. It’s hard to say simply, “we have good benefits,” or our benefits are 25% better than our competitors. Women are searching for some clearly defined elements - such as low deductible, good in-network coverage, dental and vision coverage.

6. The Manager Seemed Like A Good Manager For Me

The adage goes that employees don’t quit a company, they quit their manager. The same holds true for starting a new job. Of course, it’s important to attract great talent and evaluate them critically in the interview process. But it’s also important for the manager to help find a fit by developing a rapport with the candidate that’s indicative of what their future relationship would look like.

7. Opportunities for Promotion

We were actually surprised that this item fell so far down the list. Women can often be gunshy - perhaps too much so - about taking on new responsibility, particularly when they are just starting a new role.

8. Good Vacation Policy

It also surprised us that this was so far down the list. Perhaps part of the issue here is that vacation policies don’t generally differ much from one company to the next (with the exception of some extraordinary outliers like GE and Square who have unlimited PTO). Or, perhaps the issue is that no matter how much vacation is available, it can sometimes be hard to take it.

Still another reason that vacation may not surface as a differentiator when selecting a job is that women are not aware of the vacation policy until the final offer letter is already in hand.

9. Company Involved in Community

It is clear that today’s workforce is highly interested in working for companies that support a greater good in their local or global community. Whether that social mission is a part of the company’s actual business, or whether it’s something they contribute back - this is an importnat factor to women when they are deciding where to work next.

Less Important:

Factors that were rated as less important to women in our study:

  • Job was a promotion

  • Opportunities to be mentored

  • Many women in leadership roles

  • Co-workers seemed fun

  • Opportunity to work from home

  • Good amenities - such as a gym or cafeteria

  • On-site daycare

So the interesting takeaway here is that to attract women, it’s much less important to have a great cafeteria or foosball table, and much more important to invest in flexibility, professional development opportunities, and great healthcare benefits.

You can read the complete findings of our study here.

Romy Newman, cofounder and president of Fairygodboss, will be speaking at the Employer Branding Strategies Conference in Chicago this May 16-18th on What Women Want: Employer Branding Strategies to Attract Women. Before venturing into the crazy world of entrepreneurship, Romy ran digital advertising sales and operations at The Wall Street Journal, and also worked in marketing at Google and Estee Lauder. Romy studied american studies, literature and art at Yale and many more practical things at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. Romy is a frequent contributor to Fortune, Huffington Post, and Inc. She is a proud mother of two, wife to a very supportive husband, devoted yogi and crossword puzzle lover. Romy has been lucky to have great workplace experiences, and she  is motivated by helping other women find great careers and workplaces.