Despite the old adage “money talks,” the majority of employees would opt for a promotion without a salary increase over a raise, according to a new survey.

About two-thirds (63%) of 1,200 professionals said they would prefer to get a promotion with no salary increase than a salary increase with no promotion, according to an October study from Korn Ferry.

“Getting recognition is the reason people drive into work,” says Peter Keseric, a managing consultant at Korn Ferry Futurestep, a division of the talent and leadership consulting firm. “People want to feel they’re making a difference when they go to work.”

See also: More employees receiving promotions

In fact, 73% of employees said their principal driver is the belief that their work has purpose and meaning. About one-fifth (21%) of employees said their goal is to emerge as a leader in the workplace.

“We’re moving more into a project-based work environment,” he says. “With a bigger title, you can run and lead more projects.”

More than seven in 10 employees said they expect to stay in a role for three to five years before being promoted, according to the survey.

See also: How mission statements can improve millennial happiness

“Promotions are happening quicker in the marketplace than they were happening 10 to 15 years ago,” Keseric says. “You have to set the table for your promotion.”

Sixty-one percent of employees surveyed said they did not receive a promotion within 12 months, and 55% of employees don’t expect to receive one in the next year, according to the survey.

Some reasons, such as office politics, lack of qualifications and a company’s unwillingness to offer a higher pay grade with the promotion, can keep employees from rising in the ranks, according to the survey.

See also: Women miss promotions for maternity leave: study

If an employee was passed over for a promotion, 84% of workers said they would identify the reasons and work to improve.

“Most often, that’s having a discussion with their direct manager and making sure those goals are clarified,” Keseric says.

Conversely, if the manager is influenced by office politics, it might be time to search for a new job.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit News content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access