Keeping employees in their seats and on the factory floor continues to be a challenge.
That overused term, "The Great Resignation", marches on as demonstrated by a study, 2023 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, released on June 20 by PwC. The report found that one in four (26%) employees say it is likely they will change jobs in the next 12 months, up from 19% last year.
Workers who said they are most likely to change employers include those who feel overworked (44%), struggle to pay the bills every month (38%), and Gen Z (35%).
Purpose, company culture and inclusion also remain key concerns. Among workers who said they are likely to change employers, less than half (47%) said they find their jobs fulfilling compared to 57% of those unlikely to change employers.
Those likely to change employers are also eight percentage points less likely to say that they can truly be themselves at work than their counterparts who intend to stay (51% vs. 59%). The survey uncovered some underlying factors to explain those findings.
Cash is Scarce
Employees are increasingly feeling cash-strapped as a cooling economy and inflationary challenges continue to impact workforce wallets. The proportion of the global workforce who said they have money left over at the end of the month has fallen to 38%, down from 47% last year.
One in five workers (21%) now work multiple jobs, with 69% doing so because they need additional income. The share of workers with multiple jobs is higher for Gen Z (30%) and ethnic minorities (28%).
The economic squeeze is also driving up pay demands, with the proportion of workers planning to ask for a pay increase jumping from 35% to 42% year on year. Among workers who are struggling financially, that number rises to nearly half (46%).
Access to Training is More Difficult
With tighter finances, there is a challenge to find resources to develop new skills to adapt to future conditions. Compared to workers who can pay their bills comfortably, those who struggle or cannot pay their bills are 12 percentage points less likely to say they are actively seeking out opportunities to develop new skills (62% vs. 50%).
Similarly, those workers who are more financially secure are more likely to seek feedback at work and use it to improve their performance (57%) than those who are struggling financially (45%).
Varying Views on AI
More than half (52%) of employees globally expect to see some positive impact of AI on their career over the next five years, with nearly a third (31%) saying it’ll increase their productivity/efficiency at work. Many workers also view AI as an opportunity to learn new skills (27%).
More than one-third (37%) of workers doing better financially say AI will improve their productivity versus those workers not doing well financially (24%). Those workers doing better financially also think AI will create new job opportunities (24% vs. 19%). They are less likely to think it will change the nature of their work in a negative way (13% vs. 18%).
The survey also reveals stark demographic disparities in employee attitudes toward AI. Younger generations are much more likely to expect AI to impact their careers across all of the surveyed impacts, both positive and negative, whereas a little over one-third (34%) of Baby Boomers think AI will not impact their careers, only 14% of Gen Z and 17% of Millennials agree.
Skilled Workers are More Optimistic
In contrast, skilled workers are facing a rapidly changing economic and workplace environment with greater confidence.
Workers who said their job requires specialized skills are more likely to anticipate change ahead. More than half (51%) say the skills their job requires will change significantly in the next five years, compared to just 15% for employees who don’t have specialized training.
Around two-thirds are confident their employer will help them develop the digital, analytical and collaboration skills they will need. These numbers fall to below half for those who do not currently work in jobs that require specialist training.
On the other side of the coin are practices that employers use that can block recruiting and retaining workers. Those include the following.
Legacy Recruitment Practices Block Talent
In a competitive labor market, employers are missing out on valuable talent because of old-fashioned approaches to recruitment and development. More than one-third (35%) of workers with specialist skills moderately or strongly agree that they have missed out on work opportunities because they don’t know the right people.
Meanwhile, more than one-third (35%) of workers say they have skills that are not apparent from their CVs or job histories, indicating companies may be overlooking talent within the ranks.
Recent research published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PwC found that creating skills-first labor markets could help more than 100 million people worldwide get better jobs.
“With the ongoing economic uncertainty, we see a global workforce that wants more pay and more meaning from their work," said Bhushan Sethi, Strategy& principal. Addressing these needs will be critical as leaders seek to transform their workplaces enabling business model reinvention, profitable growth and job creation. A critical part of this transformation agenda will include accessing alternative talent pools through a skills-first hiring approach, to address today's skills and labor shortages.
Evaluating and upskilling people based on what they can do in the future, not just what they have demonstrated in the past can deliver sustainable economic, business and societal outcomes.”
Employers have a key role to play in employee retention
PwC’s 2023 CEO Survey found that four in 10 CEOs think their company will not survive more than 10 years without transformation. The workforce is a little more optimistic in the Hopes & Fears Survey, with the equivalent figure standing at 33%. Although such pessimism rises to 40% among younger generations.
Confidence in long-term business longevity is also key to retention. Workers who believe their company won’t survive a decade on its current path are more than twice as likely to leave in the next 12 months (43% cite they are likely to leave vs. 19% of workers who believe their company will survive longer than a decade).
"At every turn, CEOs know they must reinvent their business in order to survive the next challenge," said Pete Brown, Global People & Organization leader, in a statement. "We see that leadership is needed more than ever to retain talent, while also recruiting those with the human skills necessary to weather any storm. C-suites must listen to their people today if they are to create a viable workforce of the future, for tomorrow."