Future Friday: Workers pretty optimistic about their future

That headline may be somewhat surprising to you. It was to me. I have gotten used to reading the doom-and-gloom of may dystopian writers. However, a major survey by the Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group, as reported in Personnel Today, a fairly high level of satisfaction in many different countries.

Prospects have improved

According to writer Jo Faragher researchers polled around 11,000 ‘middle-skills’ workers (non-graduates) across 11 countries, and almost half felt their prospects had improved over the last five years.  Not surprisingly Swedish workers were the happiest, with 66% of them satisfied with their current circumstances. Coming in second, and shocking to me, were U.S. workers, with 64% of them expressing satisfaction with their current circumstances. UK workers were close behind with 62% saying they were happy or very happy with their situations.

Leadership has a less optimistic view

Faragher reports that the study shows that leadership is not as optimistic of the future as are workers. They see many potential roadblocks to success, such as the need to increase workers’ skills and education, sudden shifts in customer needs, employees’ expectations of flexible work and a shortage of workers with skills for evolving jobs.

Workers do see a need for more training, but feel that their ability to freelance digitally, will help them. Optimistically, 45% of them see changes in the workplace will lead to better wages.


One surprising statistic to me regards who pays for training.

“A third of workers globally cited the inability to afford training as the biggest obstacle to improvement, yet just 19% of business leaders thought employees couldn’t afford to prepare themselves for changes to their work.”

I personally think that is thinking in the wrong direction. I feel employers should be picking up the tab on training. Employees can pay for their education, employers need to pay for their training.

It is nice to see a survey come out that is not all doom and gloom about the future.

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