PwC’s workforce survey illuminates new workplace trends
PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 has revealed that the pandemic-related exodus of workers from the workplace may be more of a trend than a one-time headache for employers.
Yet, many companies risk taking employees for granted by failing to recognise that the skilled workers are more likely to consider moving on, there should be corporate support for workers who seek personal fulfilment and meaning at work, and that they must build workplace trust.
The report surveyed 52,000 workers across 44 countries and territories on what they think about work today, in one of the largest such surveys conducted.
In what PwC referred to as a wake-up call for global leaders, the report reveals that skilled workers — especially those with skills that are scarce — are ready to test the market.
The survey showed that those less inclined to move on are more likely to find their job fulfilling, feel fairly rewarded financially, feel the team cares about them, the manager listens to them and that they can be their true self at work.
The report says: “More than one third of respondents plan to ask for a raise in the coming year, and one in five said they are extremely, or very, likely to switch employers.
“Retaining these employees will require more than just pay; fulfilling work and the opportunity to be one’s authentic self at work also matter to employees who are considering a job change.
“Our results also show that sensitive political and social discussions — topics that themselves hinge on issues of power and its distribution — are happening in the workplace, largely without company involvement, and are generating positive dividends for employees.
“Also, workers want more support in translating environmental, social and governance considerations to their work. And as leaders develop hybrid work models, they need to consider the 45 per cent of the workforce that can’t work remotely — people who do essential work but report feeling less fulfilled and empowered than respondents who can work remotely.”
The PwC research has found that the workforce is the number one risk to growth — and also the principal means by which companies can execute growth-driven strategies. Understanding workplace power in all its aspects can help leaders to energise their workforce, tap into the power of their people and accomplish bolder goals.
Some 65 per cent of employees — and more among ethnic minorities or younger workers — discuss sensitive political and social issues, conversations employers consider taboo, or at least problematic.
The report says: “Conversations about sensitive political and social issues aren’t the divisive, polarising distraction that managers might fear. Among respondents who have political and social conversations at work, the positives — a better understanding of colleagues, a more open and inclusive work environment, and increased empathy — outweigh the negatives.
“Employees who identified as ethnic minorities were more likely than other respondents to say that these experiences have had a positive impact. At the same time, minorities were also more likely to cite at least one negative impact, suggesting that the overall effect of these conversations, both good and bad, is more intense for these employees.”
PwC said the main takeaways from the survey include that companies need to gather data on employee sentiment with regard to the identified topics and develop prioritised action plans for those groups that share common attributes.
The report said: “Most organisations will need to align their purpose and trust agenda, create the right environment for employees to address social and political issues, commit to pay transparency, double down on inclusion and invest in leadership development to make all this happen.
“They need to align their workforce strategy to their business strategy and to communicate — even over-communicate — their approach to human capital. And, critically, they need to track performance over time.
“Companies face a range of challenges, including geopolitical and economic uncertainty, climate issues, social changes and cyber threats. In this kind of environment, they’ll succeed only if their people are fully engaged, motivated and eager to contribute.”