A high salary is no longer the prime pulling factor in the recruitment of top professionals, according to a new survey by CEMS, a global alliance of 34 business-focused academic institutions and universities, including Nova SBE.

Globally, 21% of respondents considered work-life balance as equally important to remuneration when asked about the main criteria they value when looking for a new position.

These two criteria were closely followed by rapid career progression feeling of making an impact on the world.

In professionals aged over 35, work-life balance was ranked higher than salary in its importance, while the inverse was true for younger professionals and recent graduates.

The ability to travel for work was one of the top five criteria for respondents aged 19 to 25, but was less important to older age groups, who preferred strong and inspirational leadership.

"Our study reveals that for professionals around the world, while salary is always an important factor, it is not a determining one. Achieving a good work-life balance and having the opportunity to generate impact in one’s role is more important than ever for employees of all ages," Nicole de Fontaines, CEO of CEMS, said in a statement.

"As we return to the office, and at a time when attracting and retaining top talent is high on the agenda, it is important that organisations listen carefully to what professionals want most, and act accordingly. That way, they can encourage innovation and ultimately gain a competitive advantage in uncertain times," she concluded.