Report: The Working Future: More Human, Not Less | Bain & Company

Workforce Trends

As workers rethink the role they want work to play in their lives, firms seek to understand how workers’ motivations and preferences continue to shift. This 76-page report is based on a survey of 20,000 workers across ten countries representing 65% of global GDP. It explores five themes that are reshaping work today, one of which is worker preferences. Figure 1.5 on p. 13 shows how respondents from this global survey rank various job/employment attributes. While workers rank compensation first over any other job attribute, it’s the top priority for just one in five workers—reinforcing variance in worker preferences. As shown on p.20, the authors identified six worker archetypes, each providing a prism for understanding worker preferences. For example, Pioneers and Givers often value working in organizations with a clear social mission. Strivers want to make something of themselves and are motivated by status and compensation. Artisans find purpose in mastery, and Explorers are likely to find it by gaining a breadth of experiences. Operators often view work as “a means to an end” and are more likely to find purpose outside their work lives. One limitation of worker personas and archetypes is that they don’t capture the multifaceted components of one’s identity and values and how they might change with life stage, personal situations, etc. We should use worker preference reports to provide directional guidance on shifting preferences, then use manager conversations with their direct reports to determine what matters most to each individual.

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