What is 'Good Work Ethic' and What Do Companies Look For?

It's more than just the skills.
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Having the technical know-how to perform a job can only take one so far. To get promoted or to become an attractive talent for other companies, character matters -- and how it is displayed through work ethic.

More and more companies are realizing the importance of work ethic to the success of their operations with 63% of employers saying they are willing to hire someone with the desired character traits and train them for the role according to Monster's 2022 Future of Work Global Report.

And the top desired work ethic? It's dependability and the ability to collaborate, the report showed.

"Work ethic is probably the single biggest impression on your character and legacy that people will have about you and that influences your career progression," career coach Pat Mallari told reportr.


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Recruiters are also looking to hire or pirate professionals who are known to have good work ethics.  Nine out of 10 talent professionals and hiring managers say that soft skills -- character traits, behaviors and work ethic -- are just as important or more important than hard technical skills according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report. 

"When the work ethic is not there -- you're lazy, you have many excuses -- it will affect the opportunities that will come to you," Mallari said.

Why is work ethic important?

More than just a tool to get promoted or to attract better career opportunities, one's work ethic reflects an individual's core values and character traits according to Mallari.

"Work ethic is really about character and character is the most important thing you will bring in any stage of your career, whether you're starting out or progressing," she said.

How a person does the work is a reflection of how they are outside of the workplace, she added. For instance, a person who likes to take advantage of his or her co-workers most likely has the same character outside of the workplace.

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"Work ethic represents integrity with yourself, who you are, and the kind of work that you do," Mallari said.

While everyone can develop a good work ethic, the bad news is it's not something that you just train for overnight. Developing a good work ethic takes time and is a learning professional experience.

"Work ethic is something that you learn over time through experiences, through being surrounded by people with integrity, dependability, and trust. You don't just learn it on your own, you learn it from people around you too who display this," Mallari said.


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What are desirable work ethics?

For job seekers and professionals looking to climb up the career ladder, here are the top work ethics that employers look for according to JobStreet Philippines and Mallari:


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By dictionary definition, integrity refers to being honest and having strong moral principles. As a work ethic, integrity is a trait that earns someone respect from colleagues and is an attractive trait for promotions and career opportunities.

"If you show that you can be trusted, career opportunities will come to you thus career progression too," Mallari said.

When assessing yourself when it comes to your integrity, Mallari gave the following points to consider:

  • How honest are you with yourself when it comes to your work progress and challenges?
  • How honest are you with other people? Are you someone that they can trust?
  • Do you cut corners when it comes to your job? Do you take bribes?
  • Do you do things that take advantage of your coworkers?


In any organization, teamwork and collaboration are a must for success which means that being a reliable coworker is a desired work ethic.

Here are some points to consider when reflecting on whether you're a dependable coworker:

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  • Do your coworkers ask for your input or help?
  • Do your coworkers say that they can rely on you for support?
  • Do you do the work assigned to you and do you meet deadlines?


A professional with a sense of responsibility does the work well and meets deadlines, gives credit where credit is due, takes accountability for personal mistakes as well as those of their subordinates according to JobStreet Philippines.

"If you're the kind of person who likes to point fingers and doesn't take responsibility, how can you be trusted?" Mallari said.

Here are some points to consider when it comes to reflecting on whether you're a responsible professional in the workplace:

  • Do you own up to your and your subordinates' mistakes?
  • Do you accept consequences?
  • Do you meet deadlines?
  • Do you give your best effort at work?
  • Do you credit your colleagues or subordinates properly?

Whether you're starting out in the professional world, eyeing a promotion, or looking for better career opportunities, having a strong work ethic can go a long way for you. And remember: it's character that makes you sleep well at night.

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