HR Terminology Hierarchy of Needs

Complygate has put together a complete list of key HR terms, phrases, acronyms and jargon to assist HR professionals in navigating the extensive, ever-growing HR terminology. We would like to encourage you to read, share and make use of this terminology collection. If you have any suggestions of terms or keywords we have missed, please contact us and we will include them in our next update.

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What is the Hierarchy of Needs?

Hierarchy of Needs, propounded by psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943, is a theory of human motivation which states that human motivation ultimately stems from human needs, which impacts human behaviour in general. According to Maslow, there are five types of human needs in a hierarchical level as per their importance, and when one of those needs is satisfied it ceases to contribute to further human motivation.

The five types of human needs, starting from the most basic, are:


  • Physiological – These includes the most basic human needs connected with one’s survival – food, breathing, water, basic human facilities, etc.
  • Safety – This aspect is concerned with the security needs of the body like resources, employment, salary, family, property, etc.
  • Social – This aspect is related with the social needs of a person like human interactions, friendship, family, spouse, need for intimacy, etc.
  • Self-esteem – This aspect concerns with the human needs like need for achievement, self-respect, confidence, praise, etc.
  • Self-actualization – This aspect concerns itself with moral individualistic needs like creativity, morality, problem-solving, contribution to society, sense of existential awareness, being unbiased, etc.
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