Press release

Udemy Research Finds Balance, Learning, & Mission are Key Drivers of Happiness and Meaning at Work

Sponsored by Businesswire

the world’s largest destination for online
, today released the company’s “2019
Workplace Happiness Report,”
which found that feeling fulfilled at
work is about achieving work-life balance and having better quality of

“The social contract between employer and employee has been upended, and
the smartest companies have moved from a hierarchical, transactional
relationship with employees to a collaborative partnership of mutual
respect,” said Cara Brennan Allamano, SVP of Human Resources at Udemy.
“Today, meeting employees’ personal needs and understanding their career
goals are the best ways to foster a happy work environment where
employees feel committed to meeting critical business goals.”

Balance matters most

Overall, employees’ search for quality of life drives their career
choices and determines whether they find meaning in their work. More
than a third of the U.S. workers surveyed (37%) ranked “work-life
balance” as most essential to giving their work meaning, while only 14%
said “contributing to the greater good” brings meaning to their work.

Mission is not a moot point

While quality-of-life factors are the greatest drivers of workplace
meaning and happiness, company mission matters, too. Across all age
groups, the majority of respondents agree that mission is both important
and inspiring in the workplace. In addition:

  • 62% of employees would take a pay cut to work for a company with a
    mission they believe in.
  • 91% of employees whose employers run formal diversity and inclusion
    (D&I) initiatives believe they have a real impact in their workplace.
  • 90% agree or strongly agree that they find meaning in their careers.

Learning and mission matter most to millennials

Millennials stand out among the other age groups surveyed (Gen Z, Gen X,
and Baby Boomers) in several respects. For them, professional
development is more important than work-life balance (25% selected
work-life balance, compared to 42% of Gen Z, 40% of Gen X, and 48% of
Boomers). This emphasis on learning and growing in their roles could be
because they love their jobs: 84% of them consider their current
position to be their “dream job” (compared to 69% of total respondents).

Other millennial highlights:

  • Commute-averse: 70% of millennials would rather have a shorter commute
    to a less fulfilling job.
  • Living the dream: 64% of millennials strongly agree that their
    employers invest in their development; 62% are able to set their own
    schedules; 50% can work remotely.
  • Mission-driven: 78% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a
    company with a mission they believe in.


The research was conducted by Toluna Group on behalf of Udemy in March
2019 among more than 1,000 U.S. office workers in full-time jobs who are
ages 18 or older. The complete methodology is available upon request.

About Udemy

With a mission to improve lives through learning, Udemy is the online
learning destination that helps students, businesses, and governments
gain the skills they need to compete in today’s economy. More than 30
million students are mastering new skills from expert instructors
teaching over 100,000 online
in topics from programming
and data
to leadership
and team
. For companies, Udemy for Business offers an employee
and development platform with subscription access to 3,000+
courses, learning analytics, as well as the ability to host and
distribute their own content. Udemy for Government is designed to
upskill workers and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. Udemy is
privately owned and headquartered in San Francisco with offices in
Denver, Brazil, India, Ireland, and Turkey.