A survey of more than 52 000 workers indicated that the Great Resignation will continue apace in the year ahead as one in five workers say they are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months. This was a key finding from PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey of 52 195 workers in 44 countries and territories – one of the largest ever surveys of the global workforce.
Findings of the survey
The survey established that 35% of people are planning to ask their employer for more money in the next 12 months. The highest pressure on pay is in the tech sector where 44% of workers surveyed plan to ask for a raise, while pay in the public sector is the lowest (25%).
The top four findings indicated:
Increase in pay is a main motivator for making a job change (71%).
Workers want a fulfilling job (69%).
Workers want to truly be themselves at work (66%).
Nearly half (47%) of survey respondents prioritised being able to choose where they work.
The survey showed that workers who are likely to look for a new employer in the next 12 months are less likely to feel satisfied with their current employer. Compared to those who have no intention of changing jobs, they are:
14% less likely to find their job fulfilling.
11% less likely to feel they can truly be themselves at work.
9% less likely to feel fairly rewarded financially.
Need for businesses to improve
Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC, said: “There is a tremendous need for business to do more to improve the skills of workers, while being conscious of the risk of polarisation if opportunities to develop aren’t provided right across society. Workers are not just looking for decent pay, they want more control over how they work, and they want to derive greater meaning from what they do.
These are linked: by acquiring skills, workers can gain the control over the work they are looking for. Leaders must adapt to build the teams needed to successfully deal with the challenges and opportunities of today and those yet to come.”
Social issue discussions are an everyday feature of the workplace
The survey found that 65% of workers discuss social and political issues with colleagues frequently or sometimes, with the number higher amongst younger workers (69%) and ethnic minorities (73%). While business leaders are sometimes nervous about people bringing these potentially polarising issues to work, the impact is positive. The survey found that 79% of those who talk about social and political issues at work reported at least one positive consequence from that.
With political and social issues alive in the workplace, the job for employers is to create a context which secures the benefits of open conversation while minimising the negative impacts – 41% reported a negative consequence of discussions about social issues. Both numbers were significantly higher for people who consider themselves part of an ethnic minority (84% positive and 59% negative).
These discussions are happening despite little active effort on the part of organisations to help secure positive outcomes. Only 30% of employees say their company provides support to help them work effectively with people who share different views.
Impact on economy, climate and society
The survey shows that workers have a particular interest in their employer’s impact on the economy, climate and society. Half of workers (53%) felt it was important that their employer be transparent about their impact on the environment, two-thirds (65%) felt transparency about health and safety was critical, with transparency about economic impact not far behind at 60%, followed by diversity and inclusion efforts at 54%.
Dayalan Govender, PwC South Africa People and Organisation Leader, says: “Diverse workforces will inevitably result in people expressing different opinions about major societal issues in the workplace. Leaders need to ensure these discussions benefit their teams rather than dividing them. The role of employers isn’t to tell workers what to think, but to foster healthy discussions and enable a safe environment in which workers can share their feelings and listen and learn about how these issues are impacting their colleagues. The timing for organisations to place employee value proposition (EVP) at the top of their agendas as a priority simply cannot be overemphasised.”
Skilled employees feel most empowered
The survey paints a picture of a workforce polarised on several dimensions. Women were seven points less likely than men to say they are fairly rewarded financially, but still seven points less likely to ask for a raise. Women were also eight points less likely to ask for a promotion and eight points less likely than men to feel their manager listens to them.
Shirley Machaba, PwC South Africa CEO, says: “When there is a failure to ensure women have the same opportunities as men to develop their skills and careers, it can have a negative impact on business and society. We have seen that one of the quickest ways to strengthen the workforce is to ensure women are not overlooked. This means addressing the culture, systems and structures that prevent women from accessing these opportunities, and ensuring that women are heard, seen and provided room to make meaningful changes.”
Notable differences between generations
There were significant differences between generations with Gen Z workers less satisfied with their job and twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be concerned that technology will replace their role in the next three years. One of the most important drivers of polarisation is skills – with large differences between workers who have highly valued skills and those who do not.
The data shows that those with in-demand skills (29% of the sample feel they have skills that are in short supply in their country) are more likely to feel satisfied with their job (70% v 52%), feel listened to by their managers (63% v 38%) and have money left over after they pay their bills (56% v 44%).
To close the skills gap, workers say companies are investing in the current workforce through upskilling and increasing remuneration.
Corlia Volschenk, PwC Africa People Leader said: “In a volatile labour market, it is now more important that organisations take a human-led, tech powered approach. That means investing in both digital transformation and in skills. These investments should focus on strengthening the capabilities of skilled employees, providing learning opportunities for those who lack skills, and automating functions to free up people to do what only people can do. Targeted investment across the skills mix is not only good for companies, but good for individuals and society too.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
*45% of respondents said their job could not be done remotely
*Of those who say their job can be done remotely:
63% said they prefer some mix of in-person and remote working – the same proportion said they expect their employer to offer that mix for at least the next 12 months.
26% of employees would prefer full-time remote work, but only 18% say their employers are likely to adopt that model.
Another 18% say their employers are likely to require full-time in-person work, which only 11% of employees prefer.