Here is the published version of this week’s Careers newsletter, which brings the latest news, commentary and ideas about the workplace, leadership and the future of work straight to your inbox every Wednesday. Click here to get on the newsletter list!
In this newsletter, we tend to write a lot about the careers of white-collar professionals. The return-to-office standoff. Extra paid time off. Getting the most out of mentoring.
But a career path isn’t just something that matters to knowledge workers, or the people who sit at a desk for their jobs. Low-wage workers drove the record voluntary quit rates that defined the early days of the “Great Resignation,” switching to better jobs in industries raising wages. They’re coveted in the current split-screen job market—where job opening rates remain highest in the food service, hospitality and heath-care sectors while layoffs mount among higher-paid workers in fields like finance and tech.
But what frontline workers want isn’t necessarily what employers are giving them. As I reported last week on a survey provided exclusively to Forbes by McKinsey & Co. and Cara Plus, a division of the nonprofit Cara Collective, employers place too high a premium on “intangible benefits” such as employee recognition, time off and bigger job titles, the last of which ranked among the bottom five priorities for frontline workers but was near the top for surveyed managers.
What they really want: Opportunities for growth and insights into potential career paths, just like everyone else. They want help seeing what their next job possibilities are, and the chance to really understand what it’s like to take over a supervisory role. They want training that will help them move into roles with more pay and more responsibilities.
As Andrew Davis, a partner in McKinsey’s retail practice, explains, employers tend to “over-index on certain things that don’t matter as much” to hourly workers.
The report, which surveyed 2,154 hourly workers who make $22 or less per hour and 305 managers or H.R. leaders of frontline workers, comes at a time when more companies are recognizing that their path out of the labor shortage will likely involve both retaining and retraining low-wage workers. And at a time when hourly wage workers are especially vulnerable to inflation, finding jobs that give them more responsibility and pay them more will matter more than ever.
It’s a reminder that if you manage hourly workers, an “employee of the month” award or a nominal gift card won’t go very far. Frontline workers need to be aware of their opportunities to advance—and all too often, they’re not. While 32% of employers said they offered tuition or outside education fee reimbursement, for instance, only 15% of the workers surveyed were aware of such benefits. Read more in my story here.
Golf Tournaments, A Private Jet And A Red Ferrari: A Tech CEO Lived Large While His Employees Went Unpaid
A Forbes investigation found that Chris Kirchner, CEO of the $240 million Goldman Sachs-backed startup Slync.io, fired executives after they asked questions about the company’s funds. Now, he’s facing a lawsuit for wrongful termination and claims of “fraudulent behavior.” Employees were told during a virtual all-hands meeting Monday afternoon that Kirchner has been suspended, a move that followed the Forbes report.
Worried about the slowing economy? Five tips for job seekers.
What to ask for if you can’t get a raise right now.
Job hunting? You’ve talked with recruiters, scoured Glassdoor, tapped your network. Here’s where you’re not looking.
Employees want more friends at work. Why aren’t they finding them?
In a challenging job market, advancing within your own company may be your best bet.
Battling change fatigue amid the recent avalanche of bad news and disruptive change.
ON OUR AGENDA
Why you may need digital workforce credentials: They could become the skills currency of the current environment: A way of digitally verifying skills employees collect and bridging the school-to-work gap. Forbes contributor Mark Perna walks through what digital credentials are and why they may matter more and more.
Extreme heat needs employers’ response: Only 27% of respondents to the 2022 Natural Disaster and Severe Weather Preparedness report by communication and collaboration platform Rave Mobile Safety said they felt very or extremely prepared to face severe weather, reported Forbes senior contributor Edward Segal. As record-breaking heat waves proliferate around the globe, employees said they’d feel safer with options such as more training sessions and digital safety plans.
Corporations’ silence on Roe: Only 8% of companies made a public statement about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a new survey from The Conference Board, a nonprofit business membership and research organization, and more than 30% of companies chose not to respond at all to the ruling, reports Forbes’ Madeline Halpert. Companies were more likely to have taken a stance on other social issues, with 61% saying they had made a public statement on racial equality since the beginning of 2020 and 44% said they had spoken publicly about LGBTQ+-related issues.
Recession risk roundup: An inverted yield curve is flashing a major recession warning, writes Forbes senior contributor Simon Moore, and fears of one appear to be fueling layoffs. Check out our layoff tracker here, and keep in mind these tips if you’re a job seeker in a slowing economy, as well as these reminders on how to communicate with your team when a layoff looms.
Black Swans on repeat: A new report from World 50, a peer-to-peer membership organization for senior executives, surveyed more than 200 senior executives and found that leaders say their responsibilities have “exploded,” with 93% saying “non-traditional business issues,” such as employees’ mental health, social and political issues and war, have become very or somewhat significant factors in their decision-making over the past three years. It includes case studies, new data and interviews with more than two dozen executives.
Hot flashes for everyone: The challenges menopausal women face in the workplace have finally begun to get more attention, but this organization brings it to a new level. The UK-based organization Over The Bloody Moon helped create the MenoVest, in which heated pads mimic what it feels like to experience a hot flash, to help raise awareness and empathy for women going through menopause at work. No word yet on how much of an impact that will have on fine-tuning the office AC.
While it’s not a career book, Wall Street Journal reporter Peter Loftus’s book about Moderna, “The Messenger,” gets deep inside this central player in the fight against Covid-19, which in early 2020 was a biotech unicorn with a limited future. Loftus’s book “is full of heroic efforts by ordinary people, lucky breaks, and life-and-death decisions,” describes the book’s summary, an inspirational tale of one of this century’s great achievements by American industry and the founders who placed their bets on innovation.
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