It seems that barely an hour passes on digital communication channels without predictions, opinions and discussions appearing about the future of work. Those last three words alone now appear on bios and as individual specialisms. The battle is often between a dystopian view of the future where AI-powered robots have made all jobs obsolete and a more optimistic view where technology creates huge opportunities to bring more meaning, fulfilment and improved well-being to working lives. And amongst the unknown there are many commentators, bloggers and analysts who see certainty.
But how is work changing now, and what issues do employees face? We need to look more closely at the world of work as it is now and understand the trends, attitudes, and, behaviours that are currently driving change and that will continue to drive change.
To find out more about this reality, and rely less on the myth, Matt Alder and I partnered with Kelly Services to research more than 14,000 jobseekers across 10 European countries, capturing their experiences, hopes and opinions. The findings from this extensive quantitive research will be captured in a series of reports.
The first one has just been published. There were three key topics that jobseekers seem focused on – the quality of their work experience, the capabilities of their leaders, and the opportunity for some flexibility within their work.
A few of our findings:
- How a company treats their employees is the main factor influencing someone on whether to apply for a job.
- How they are treated during the application process will impact the decision on whether to join for 86%.
- The number one thing people are looking for from their employers is the opportunity to learn new skills, which is ranked more important than salary increases.
- There are no clear cut preferences on flexibility. For some it is location and for others hours. Whilst 58% felt working from home would improve their work/life balance, 48% believe that working from an office helps to keep work and home life separate.
- The option to work from home wasn’t available to 61% in our survey, although 70% believed they had the technology to enable it.
- The most important leadership qualities are accountability and honesty (except the UK where its awareness and decisiveness)
- 53% of respondents had considered self-employment, but only 18% have any plans to become self-employed
One of our main conclusions was that for employees and jobseekers the reality is more about how they do their day to day job, and the ways technology may make their daily routines easier and more engaging whilst offering greater choice over how and where they work. Certainly the way they are treated and supported is much more important to them than working for businesses who embrace the latest fads and trends.
You can download a copy of the report here – hope you find it interesting.
I’ll write about some more findings when the next report is available.