Work values

Finding out what career is right for you

When you are wondering What job should I do or What career is right for me you might be surprised to know that you already have all the answers inside yourself. You have career and work values, the characteristics of your work that you find most important. They are similar to those found in the theory of career anchors by Dr. Edgar Schein1, one of the founders of the field of modern organizational psychology. He suggests that every one of us approaches our work with a certain set of priority and values that he calls our career anchors.

Your guide towards a satisfying career

By identifying your career values you can answer the following questions:

  • What job should I do?
  • What career should I choose?
  • What kind of work will I find satisfying?
  • What job fits my personality?
  • What work environment will best fit me?

What job should I do?

The answer is: one that contains the elements that you find important. This is the key to being more successful and happy in your work. For instance, some people are content with uneventful jobs, while others thrive on action and excitement. People tend to stay anchored in one area and their career will echo this in many ways. Take our free work values test and get insight into your own work values, in just a few minutes.

Why work values are important

Often, people choose a career for all the wrong reasons, and find their responses to the workplace are incompatible with their true values. This may produce feelings of unrest, discontent and a loss of productivity. Also, employers like to see certain work values in employees and will not hire people who don't show their actual true values at work. To help avoid these problems, career values help people uncover their real values and use them to make better career choices. Taking a work values test can help you identify your career and work values.

Work values include talents, motives, values and attitudes which provide stability and direction for your chosen career. A work value is your driver or motivator for your work. A career anchor value is also the one element in your self-concept that you will not give up, even when facing difficult choices.


1Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership (Vol. 2). John Wiley & Sons.