Indian firms more focused on technical skills than cultural fit

A new study from TimesJobs.com reports that nearly half of firms in India ignore cultural fit when hiring employees, focusing instead on technical skills, according to The Economic Times.

The preliminary results from our survey point to similar conclusions. So far, our results suggest that Indian firms are less likely to focus on “soft” skills (e.g., creativity, empathy, collaboration) when assessing employees. Employees are also lukewarm when it comes to desire for a strong corporate culture and colleagues they like, favoring opportunities for training and education, compensation, and a stronger company brand.

We’ll have the final results from our survey of 2,700 employees and 2,700 executives next week. Once we do, we’ll be producing 27 country fact sheets that dive into these kinds of key variations.

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2020 Workforce news roundup

Indian workforce reports lowest employer loyalty in Asia: Report (The Economic Times – India): A recent study of employee engagement levels in India has highlighted the need for Indian companies to increase their efforts in that area. “When employees are effectively engaged—in alignment with corporate strategy—extraordinary performance advantages are achieved,” says Brad Adams, Head of HR Research in Asia at the Corporate Executive Board.

Obama Calls for Family-Friendly Workplace Policies (Wall Street Journal): At the White House Summit on Working Families, President Obama communicated his support for paid parental leave, noting that the US is the only developed country that does not offer paid maternity leave. The White House and the Labor Department are planning to fund paid-leave programs, but will likely struggle to find support from Congress.

Millennials want more out of work (Chicago Tribune): Popular opinion says easily bored Millennials choose meaningful work and flexibility over compensation, and that they change jobs much more frequently than older workers. (But our preliminary survey results suggest that the gap between what Millennials think and what others think may not be as wide as most believe.)

Retirement age of new Hong Kong civil servants to rise to 65 under new plans (South China Morning Post): In an effort to address the shrinking workforce, the retirement age for newly hired public sectors in Hong Kong will extend from 60 to 65.

The “hidden” workforce?

An increase in the number of non-payroll positions for consultants, intermittent employees, and contingent workers is forcing change on companies. Our survey suggests that companies are increasingly using contingent workers in addition to their traditional full-time staff—requiring them to rethink strategies for compensation as well as investments in training and technology.

People were talking about the contingent workforce at SAPPHIRE earlier this month, reports Susan Galer in a recap of the 2020 workforce panel posted at the SAP News Center last week:

Sean Kundu, director of Human Resources and Employment Counsel at the San Francisco 49ers, agreed that contingent workers are becoming an important part of his fast-growing, multi-generational organization. “We’re building a new stadium and trying to find the right talent to join a very diverse team. We’re reaching out to people on social media who enjoy technology and sports, and giving them a chance to see if they like the job.”

Adjusting to a more project-oriented, short-term working experience is central to understanding the workforce of 2020. According to panelist Jacob Morgan, Principal at Chess Media Group, companies and employees need to fundamentally change how they work. “You can’t hire somebody based on where you’re going to be in five or 10 years. It makes more sense to hire employees focused on projects they can do across the company.”

You can read more about the contingent workforce and other discussion points from the 2020 Workforce panel here.

Digital monitoring helps employers – but what about employees?

New technology is changing the way companies track and manage employee performance. In particular, digital monitoring is growing in popularity, resulting in big payoffs for employers. According to The New York Times, companies that are digitally tracking performance are learning about how their employees work together and how to spot the most productive workers.

Digital monitoring is just one of the ways analytics is changing the workplace. Many employers are using physiolytics to translate data from wearable devices into feedback on performance in real-time.

According to this article from The Harvard Business Review:

At a distribution center in Ireland, Tesco workers move among 87 aisles of three-story shelves. Many wear armbands that track the goods they’re gathering, freeing up time they would otherwise spend marking clipboards. A band also allots tasks to the wearer, forecasts his completion time, and quantifies his precise movements among the facility’s 9.6 miles of shelving and 111 loading bays. A 2.8-inch display provides analytical feedback, verifying the correct fulfillment of an order, for instance, or nudging a worker whose order is short.

Privacy is still a concern, as employees may not be comfortable with providing their managers with so much personal data. To make this work, companies must adopt strict privacy policies and maintain transparency throughout the process. Leaving those concerns unaddressed may cause employees—including top talent—to leave their jobs.  But with the right procedures in place, monitoring employee performance could lead to big business benefits.

2020 Workforce news roundup

CFOs Expect Labor Unrest Will Hit Economic Growth in Latin America (Wall Street Journal): A new study from Duke University and CFO Magazine found that nearly three-quarters of Latin American survey respondents say they expect strikes and unrest to affect their country’s over the next year—significantly more than respondents in any other region.

Singapore workers view job as just ‘way to make living’  (The Global Recruiter): According to a recent Randstad Workmonitor survey, three-quarters of respondents in Singapore say they are only at their job to make a living, and 80% say they would not hesitate to leave their jobs for more money.

Bridging the job skills gap around the developing world (Washington Post): The Results for Development Institute estimates that by 2030, there will be 3.5 billion people in the global workforce, 1 billion of whom will not have the necessary skills to find a job.

Yahoo, LinkedIn, Google: Not A Diverse Club (InformationWeek): Silicon Valley tech companies have finally released their workforce diversity stats—and the numbers are skewed.

Paternity leave lacking in the UK

The preliminary results from our survey point to a gap between what employees want and what executives say their companies provide. In addition to competitive compensation, benefits like the opportunity to work on a flexible schedule or flexible location is a big priorities for employees.

One aspect of flexible work is paid parental leave. This recent article from The Guardian discusses the UK’s national approach to paternity leave. Unlike countries like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, where paternity leave is encouraged (or even mandated), companies in the UK are less likely to provide any substantial paid leave to new fathers, putting a strain on male employees and impeding gender equality in the workplace.

Ultimately, this kind of gap in what companies are offering employees and what employees expect could hinder successful workforce development. When our surveys close in a few weeks, we’ll have more insight into how these gaps in understanding vary country-by-country–stay tuned.

More on Millennials in the workforce

As our 2020 Workforce surveys head toward completion, one the more interesting preliminary findings is that Millennials, however different they may be from older workers in some ways, are a lot like them when it comes to workplace topics – and their bosses may not understand these similarities and differences very well. More on those topics soon.

Meanwhile, another look at the generation entering the workforce: Bentley University’s program to prepare recent graduates for the job market. Built on a survey about “the ‘why, what, and how’ behind the millennial generation’s challenges in the 21st century workplace,” the PreparedU program looks to help younger workers succeed in their careers as well as inspire leaders in education and business to encourage and support them as they enter the workforce.

You can see a slideshow here: