2020 Workforce news roundup

When using personality tests to hire does not work (Business Review Weekly): Use of personality tests to evaluate job candidates is on the rise—but these tests may not be so effective, as some of the most popular ones are more likely to reflect how the candidate thinks at a certain time, rather than revealing enduring character traits. And the tests may be too transparent, allowing candidates to choose the answers they think will be well-received by the company.

Social conscience to take priority in future workplaces (Economic Times): According to a new study from PwC, strong corporate values will be hugely important in the future workplace. However, our survey suggests that social conscience does not stack up against compensation and bonuses.

Bonuses are making up a bigger and bigger percentage of companies’ payrolls (Washington Post): Aon Hewitt’s annual US Salary Increase survey shows that companies are devoting more of their budget to bonuses than ever before, and they expect the trend to continue.

Longer work-week looms for French workers (CNN Money): A stagnant economy may be the reason economics minister Emmanuel Macron said he is open to expanding the 35-hour work week. If the number of working hours increased, it might boost the country’s competitiveness—but the change would likely not be taken lightly by the public.


Workforce issues across the globe

Our surveys show that companies everywhere are struggling to plan effectively for the workforce of the future—but there are variances in the way executives from different regions rate their company’s performance in terms of leadership, strategy, and skills development.

For example, companies in Asia Pacific are much more likely to say workforce issues drive strategy at the board level—but less likely to have confidence in leadership. Meanwhile, companies in North America struggle to find skilled talent and are not offering enough opportunities for their employees to develop.

Employee responses also vary significantly across regions—more on that to follow.

Employee education and the skills gap

Job descriptions are changing fast. Employees need new skills to keep up as technology evolves and new ways of doing work—even the threat of being replaced by artificial intelligence—loom. Employee respondents to our massive global survey are concerned with their own obsolescence and want opportunities for development and a clear career path—that goes for Millennials and non-Millennials alike.  

Executives are also worried about the growing skills gap—many say it is difficult to find employees with base-level and specialized skills. Despite their concern, our survey results point to a lack of understanding and effort from strategy-setters when it comes to investing time, resources, and technology in training and development for employees—executives and employees both report limited opportunities for skills development.

Investment in training and development will be increasingly important as the skills companies need become increasingly advanced and technology-based—just one of the changes that is sure to come in the 2020 workforce.  

2020 Workforce news roundup

The Shifting American Workforce: Growing Legions of Freelancers and Independent Contractors (Inquisitr): Dependence on non-payroll workers is growing quickly. Though labor statistics can’t tell us exactly how many freelancers are in the workforce, we’ll need to have a better sense of these figures soon—especially as increasing reliance on these workers changes HR strategy.

Women should ‘man up’ for male-dominated fields (Economic Times): According to researchers from Michigan State University, women who described themselves with masculine traits in an experiment were more likely to be considered fit for a job than those who used traditionally feminine descriptors.

New graduates still prefer to work for state-owned firms (South China Morning Post): An annual survey of about 48,000 people conducted by ChinaHR.com shows substantial changes from last year’s results. Among them? This year, many more say they would rather start their own business than be employed by someone else, and salary expectations are rising. Despite changes, new graduates are still quite likely to say state-owned firms are their first choices for employment.

Finding—and keeping—top talent

According to our survey, the need for employees with technology skills in areas like analytics, cloud, and programming will increase over the next three years. What does it take to attract top talent that meets companies’ increasingly tech-based needs?

A recent article from CIO magazine talks about some of the ways tech firms are trying to recruit elite developers. The top tactic? Money—and at many companies (mostly those based in New York and Silicon Valley), a lot of it.

What will happen if compensation turns out to be only a temporary fix for retaining talent? How important is personal satisfaction with work when the excitement over creative perks and compensation wanes?

Our survey looks at these issues and more—we’ll have answers about the benefits that matter most to employees, along with data on what companies are actually offering, in the next few weeks.

Millennials: Hard to define, like any other generation

When we set out to survey employees across 27 countries, we wanted to learn what sets Millennials apart from older employees at work. What we found is that Millennials are not so different from non-Millennials, especially when it comes to job satisfaction.

But that’s not how Millennials are typically perceived in the media—this past weekend, The New York Times published a story on the vast store of articles on Millennials, many of which portray the generation as self-entitled and narcissistic in life and at work. However, the article also calls on the Pew Research Center’s 2010 reports on Millennials, which point to a generation far more complex than most think.

Millennials may be complex and difficult to define, like any other generation—but our research points to commonalities in the way Millennials and older workers perceive work and job satisfaction. More of our results to come when our research program launches next month.    

2020 Workforce news roundup

Working Anything but 9 to 5 (The New York Times): For hourly employees, the uncertainty of the next week’s schedule can create chaos at home—especially for those with families.

7 Ways to Become Your Boss’ Dream Employee (Time): A relationship with a manager can be the key to success at work—and cultivating a good one starts with working to make your boss successful.

5 Simple Office Policies That Make Danish Workers Way More Happy Than Americans (FastCompany): Danish employees may be more likely to be satisfied and engaged with their jobs because of better working hours, more autonomy, and constant training, among other factors.

Would You Hire Your Hacker? (Wired): After a college student hacked into a popular messaging app, the co-founder of the company hired him on a freelance basis, recognizing that a good hacker has security expertise. Companies should consider creative hiring methods like this one—but be wary of potential consequences.