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What’s your work purpose?

A recent research found that the uncertainty of the pandemic ‘ignited a sense of purpose’ in the wider workforce. But how important is purpose at work and how can individuals discover what drives their unique sense of purpose?

Purpose is more than just a nice-to-have in your career – research cited in the Mckinsey article found that people with a strong sense of purpose have higher levels of wellbeing, are more resilient to stress, exhibit higher engagement levels, and even live longer and healthier lives. While the Rush Memory and Aging project discovered that people with a sense of purpose are 2.5 times more likely to be dementia-free.

There is overwhelming evidence that purpose is a positive thing. But how do you pin down just what drives you and unlock a sense of purpose at work? The truth is that purpose looks very different from one person to another – some are driven by a desire to care for others, others to provide financial security, or to fight for equality and justice.

500 people were surveyed over and nine distinct types of purpose were identified. Explore the characteristics below and see where you fit in:


AchievementYou like having a sense of authority and being the most important person in a group. Status, power, and income are important to you.


Conservation – You’re passionate about protecting the environment and raising the profile of environmental issues.


Caring – Helping people is what drives you. You’re highly responsive to the needs of friends and family and you’re prepared to make sacrifices for your loved ones.


Freedom – You’re happiest learning things for yourself. You need space to form your own opinions and choose your own goals.


Respect – You hate losing face in front of other people and you actively seek to impress the people whose opinions you value.


Tradition – You feel close ties to your history and culture and you’re committed to preserving established values or historical practices.


Enjoyment – You’re focused on having new and different experiences. You’re a natural adventurer and you want a life packed with excitement.


Stability– You respect authority and find comfort in maintaining the status quo. Situations that reflect order and stability are where you feel most comfortable.


Equality and Justice – You’re fascinated by other people’s experiences and have a strong desire to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.


Remember, your purpose may sit between two of these categories and may change over time as you move through different stages of your life. But by reflecting on what it is that truly drives you, you can better choose work that fuels your purpose and increase satisfaction and happiness across every area of your life.


Ready for purposeful work? Explore our current roles and discover work that feels like you.