Recently, Robert Dur, Professor of Economics of Incentives at Erasmus School of Economics, gave an interview on an article he published which studies what people consider as salient factors when finding a job. Apart from income, many factors like job meaning influence a decision to take on a job or not.
In his research, which he conducted with Maria Cotofan, Lea Cassar, and Stephan Meier, Dur studies how important people find job income compared to job meaning. What people find important in their job, is highly relevant for their intrinsic motivation. Additionally, knowing what people find important is pertinent to designing jobs, or to contracts.
In their studies, the researchers found that there is no trend between income and job meaning over time. Hence, the statement that nowadays people find the meaning of their job or the joy they get from their job more important than their income, is untrue. What can be noticed, however, is that the ratio of how important people find job meaning compared to income, fluctuates with economics circumstances. For example, when the economy is doing well, people tend to value job meaning more than income.