As the world of work continues to morph, my leadership and culture coaching clients find that they simply don’t have time to read extensive—yet helpful—new research.
So, I did it for them, and you.
Bain & Company recently released a report entitled The Working Future. It covers the 5 factors that are shaping work today. You’ll find that it also provides valuable insights into how to navigate—and triumph—in today’s talent war.
I found the report especially useful due to its geographic and cultural diversity. Bain surveyed over 20,000 workers in 10 countries: the United States, China, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Brazil to learn what their experience is, and how they’re leading in a world of constant change.
Here’s what they found:
1. Motivations for work are changing. The pandemic made 58% of workers rethink their work-life balance. The net-net is:
2. Beliefs about what makes a “good job” are diverging. More than 25% of American workers changed jobs between Feb. 2020 and Feb. 2021. Check out Bain’s 10-dimension framework of work attitudes. They are:
Where do you land in the above?
Bain also found that 6 worker archetypes have emerged and that India and Nigeria have the most “Pioneers” while China and France have the most “Operators”.
Here’s a link to their assessment so you can discover your work archetype.
What’s especially interesting about the archetypes is that Bain found:
3. Automation is re-humanizing work. The occupational mix in developed economies favors human-centered jobs found in healthcare, social services, and management. And The composition of the workforce has shifted multiple times. Bain classified more than 2,000 underlying activities across occupations into five categories:
4. Tech is blurring the boundaries of work. American workers favor remote work. Only 15% of workers in China and 16% in France want to work entirely from home post-pandemic, while in the US 37% do. The net-net:
5. Young workers are overwhelmed. Slowing economic growth, rising inequality, and declining housing affordability are major factors resulting in Generation Z being the most stressed generation in the US.
The odds of achieving absolute upward mobility—earning more than one’s parents—are the lowest they have been in the US for any generation since World War II. Wow.
What Can We Do About This?
Bain recommends creating a 3-pronged talent strategy:
1-Increase investment in learning to meet the “Great Reskilling” head-on – with the world continuing to move faster than ever before, and continuous pivots as well as role shifting required, our talent needs to be constantly reskilled. Remember to focus on job skills as well as leadership skills.
2-Think laterally about career growth – many of us think growth needs to be up the org chart exclusively. Not so. Many of my coaching clients create career paths that are across, including “tours of duty” for a junior leader to learn key aspects of a business over a period of time. Further, my clients often create spin-off divisions or subsidiaries that leaders can run when it’s time for both the business as well as an individual to expand their capacity. Be creative here and think outside the org chart!
3-Cultivate a growth mindset – Carol Dweck’s brilliant book Mindset got us all thinking about how flexible our people are—and if flexibility can indeed be a skill set one can learn. It can. That said if someone has a firm fixed mindset the journey to a Growth one will be a bit more difficult, but doable.
So, that’s my high-level take on a significant piece of research, which I encourage you to consume if you have the time. Regardless, it’s time to think about work, and our people, in a new expanded way. To consider the whole person, their unique challenges, and gifts, and how we can most effectively collaborate together. That’s how I see the future of work: subtle hierarchies, clear empowerment, and decision-making for all, and honoring all via a spirit of being in this together where everyone matters.