Amidst a time of change: What do your employees want?

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4 min read

A recent PwC study asked employees around the world about their worries, fears and hopes about their work. It shows that during the pandemic, employees have demonstrated that they are flexible and able to learn new skills quickly.


1. Employees want digital training

2. "Purpose" motivates - but only if the salary is right

3. Discrimination must be taken seriously

4. Hybrid work models are part of the future

The study was conducted February 2021 with more than 32,000 individuals, including employees, business owners, contract workers, students, unemployed, etc. The survey took place in 19 countries (including Germany, UK, US, Poland, India, Spain, etc.).

Employees want digital training

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77% of all employees surveyed are willing to learn new skills or enter a completely new field of work. 40% have expanded their digital skills during the pandemic. 80% are confident that they are up to speed with new technologies.
These results already show that a majority of employees are not afraid of digital change, but rather are willing to further their own education. Of course, companies must provide opportunities for this.

However, it is striking that companies prefer to invest in further training for employees with university degrees. Only one in four employees with technical qualifications or without a high school diploma are given the opportunity by their employer to learn digital skills. In addition, the study found that younger employees are more likely to receive offers for digital training.

Meanwhile, this distribution does not seem to be really productive. Technical workers in particular are likely to be more affected by automation and can learn new skills through the right measures in order to keep their jobs on the one hand and cover the shortage of skilled workers in companies on the other. As many areas of work continue to specialize, companies are wasting the opportunity to solve the skills shortage with a thoughtful, customizable training program.

"Purpose" motivates - but only if the salary is right

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75% of all respondents want to work for companies that have a positive impact on society. At the same time, 46% would even accept a lower salary if they could do a job that makes a difference in society. Nevertheless, money plays a greater role for 54%, also and especially for younger employees.
Employees must therefore take into account that a solid livelihood and financial incentives are important even in occupations that have a high social and societal value.

Discrimination must be taken seriously

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Every second person surveyed has already been discriminated against at work and assumes that their own further development and career have been negatively affected as a result.

Almost one in five employees has been passed over for promotion on the basis of age - this applies to both older and younger employees. Approximately 13% of all respondents have been given fewer career opportunities than other colleagues due to sexism, racism and classism.

Companies need to work actively to uncover conscious and unconscious bias in decision-making processes and to design hiring and promotion processes so that they cannot be affected by prejudice. Diverse companies are demonstrably stronger and more successful.

Hybrid work models are part of the future

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Almost three-quarters of all employees surveyed want hybrid work models in the future, to switch between office and home office. One-fifth can even imagine working entirely in a home office. The study finds that workers in cities are more likely to work remotely than those in rural areas.

This suggests that companies in rural areas have more catching up to do in terms of digitizing their processes. Meanwhile, in Germany in particular, the rather patchy quality in terms of networking is also likely to have an impact on the digitization of rural companies.

It is also interesting to note that a high number of employees (41%) would be willing to allow technology to monitor their performance. Meanwhile, a third (31%), which should not be underestimated, is against it. In the context of modern work concepts such as "New Work," the question arises here as to how the monitoring should turn out and what the goal should be. Instead of monitoring, the tools should rather enable employees individually to realistically assess their performance and find ways to optimize it.

Our DIGITALL experts will help you find and implement the perfect platforms for collaboration, remote work and process optimization. Find out more. 

The Digital Workplace for your Company

by Juliane Waack

Juliane Waack is Editor in Chief at DIGITALL and writes about the digital transformation, megatrends and why a healthy culture is essential for a successful business.

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