Work Futures Weekender - Another Working Weekend

2018-03-25 Beacon NY - Once again I’ll be working on the weekend, trying to catch up on writing, research, and proposals. Getting this weekender done early, so I can move onto other things.

On A Millennial Revolution

Corinne Purtill chronicles a revolution at PwC, as millennials were quitting the firm (or never joining in the first place) because of an overwork culture:

Like a lot of workplace conventions, the grind awaiting young consultants was a holdover from an era when the rank and file was dominated by men from single-earner households. But as the workforce evolved, so did its priorities.

At first, PwC and its competitors could afford to look the other way. Whatever struggles employees were having with work-life balance, they were more concerned with basic job security, first as the industry’s role in the accounting fraud that took down the energy giant Enron shook the sector to its core, and then as the global recession hit.

But as the economy began to improve, PwC faced “crisis-level attrition,” says Jonathan Amy, a PWC training executive. (The firm’s titles skew grand and opaque. Amy’s official title is “chief learning architect for learning and development.”) The attrition, coupled with reluctance at college recruiting events, made clear how unenthused the new generation was with the company’s culture. PwC’s youngest employees were leaving at rates incomparable to previous generations. As soon as they got the opportunity to go somewhere else, they went.

So PwC did what consultants do best: a study. In partnership with the University of Southern California and the London Business School, the company undertook a review of its own workforce. Between 2011 and 2012, the company surveyed 44,000 employees around the world.

Millennials, they found, did not object to long hours outright. They were as committed to their work as older colleagues. But they were also more willing to question long-held assumptions about how that work should be done. Given the abundance of connectivity, why was it necessary to be in the same physical building for 15 hours (on a good day) to get a job done? Why couldn’t they work from home when a project allowed?

But here was the real surprise: Non-millennial employees wanted exactly the same thing. Virtually identical percentages of millennial employees and non-millennial workers said they would prefer to be able to shift their work hours to schedules that could accommodate both their personal and professional obligations—heading home early for family dinner, for example, in exchange for an early start or signing back on once the kids were in bed.

The only difference was that millennials were willing to speak up about their dissatisfaction, and to opt out when problems couldn’t be resolved. Over and over again, the results of the survey made clear: work was important, but a personal life was, too.

Donovan went to PwC’s executives, showed them the results, and explained: This is your company’s future.

The amazing thing is that it took a few years of extreme attrition before the higher-ups woke up, because the culture was based on shared suffering.

On Gender Discrimination

If you are in favor of self-employment, you might find an increase in self-employed working mothers is fine. The reality is different:

Not all freelancers do it out of choice. In the UK, a study by law firm Slater & Gordon showed that more than 40% of managers avoid hiring women of “childbearing age,” so they don’t have to pay for maternity leave. Another study showed that three-quarters of mothers experience discrimination at work while 11% felt forced to leave their job.

On Sexual Harassment

Jodi Kantor asks,

Women have spoken. Men have fallen. Corporations are nervous. But are American workplaces making real progress in curbing sexual harassment?

The short answer: No. For the longer answer, which is ‘No’ with details, read the article.

On Tip Sharing (Stealing)

Noam Schieber reports on the Trump administration caving on efforts to force tip sharing into law:

The Trump administration has backed away from a proposed regulation that would have allowed restaurant owners and managers to pocket the tips of their workers.


Under the compromise, inserted into the congressional spending bill that won final approval early Friday, federal law would be revised to make clear that employers cannot under any circumstances keep any portion of the tips earned by their workers.

Tips could be redistributed to non-tipped workers only if employers pay all their employees the regular minimum wage in their jurisdiction, as opposed to the lower minimum wage that most states allow for tipped workers.

10 Work Skills for A Working Future - Parts 4, 5, 6

Continuing the clips from my recent was-supposed-to-be-in-Milan presentation. I will be posting the text version of this soon, as well.

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