Original Research

Evaluation of remuneration preferences of knowledge workers

Mark H.R. Bussin, Natasha Brigman
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1075 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1075 | © 2019 Mark H.R. Bussin, Natasha Brigman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 May 2018 | Published: 05 February 2019

About the author(s)

Mark H.R. Bussin, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Natasha Brigman, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Orientation: This research evaluates the remuneration preferences of knowledge workers as a retention strategy in an integrated international energy and chemical company, using the WorldatWork Total Rewards Model.

Research purpose: Organisations may benefit from understanding their employees’ preferential remuneration benefits, in particular, knowledge workers as a scare skill requiring specific retention strategies.

Motivation for the study: To understand the remuneration preferences for the retention of a group of knowledge workers within a large organisation based in South Africa. The research is necessary within organisations in South Africa impacted by scarce skills and a need to attract and retain knowledge workers. If remuneration preferences are not considered as part of retention, there is a risk knowledge workers may leave for preferential opportunities.

Research approach/design and method: A total of 199 employees from a group of 1229 voluntarily participated in the survey. An electronic-based questionnaire was developed from the WorldatWork rewards model. The results from the surveys were analysed with descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.

Main findings: No significance in reward strategies was found for age, level of performance or number of years of service. There was also no significant difference between the knowledge workers number of years of service and their intention to remain with the organisation. There was a significance in gender for benefits, flexibility and performance development preferences.

Practical/managerial implications: The development of retention strategies should consider reward preferences of male and female employees.

Contribution/value-add: Knowledge workers’ reward preferences do not differ on demographic variables, except gender. This contradicts some literature in the area.


retention; remuneration preferences; compensation; knowledge workers; quantitative; WorldatWork


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