No Match Found
of employees with specialized skills plan to ask for a raise this year
specially trained workers are satisfied with their jobs
of US workers think AI won’t impact their jobs in the next 5 years
The picture that PwC’s Global Hopes and Fears Survey 2023 paints is one that’s become all too familiar in our work with clients — a divided workforce. US employees are split between those with advanced degrees or technical skills and those without, and these differences are affecting workplace experience and even career prospects.
Workers in America are more likely than their global counterparts to say they take on extra responsibilities at work, but they’re not so inclined to ask for raises and promotions or change companies. They’re seemingly more aligned with their employers’ values but less likely to publicly advocate for those organizations. And they’re more ambivalent about the role AI is going to play in their jobs.
There is a chasm in the US workforce. Compared to many of their colleagues, power players — employees with advanced knowledge or skills and those in senior executive positions — report being more likely to ask for a raise or promotion, take on more responsibilities, seek and offer feedback, have flexibility and autonomy, and be more satisfied overall.
Power players often act from a position of strength. They’re significantly more likely to report financial security, are more satisfied with their jobs and feel empowered to ask for more money or promotions. Capability is confidence.
On the flip side, those without advanced skills or training and those below senior leadership are more likely to report financial insecurity and include more roles that require fixed hours and an in-person presence, such as retail and manual labor.
As calls grow to tighten operational efficiency and upskill workforces on the latest technologies, how do you manage both parts of your workforce? More importantly, how do you prevent inequality between the two groups from growing and affecting morale, productivity and your bottom line?
A similar polarization can be seen in how employees view themselves within the workforce. Sixty percent of US respondents moderately or strongly agree that they take on extra responsibility at work (compared to 50% of global respondents) and have similar views on equity and transparency to their counterparts. But they’re also less willing to say they’d publicly advocate for their company through social media, community activities or even sharing successes. Why is this the case?
Part of that can be healthy work-life integration. Not everyone wants to connect their personal and business lives, and many people don’t define themselves by their jobs. In addition, many employees just aren’t as connected to their companies as they used to be. With decreased loyalty on both sides, workers have become more transactional and more likely to jump ship or transition to contingent roles — and less likely to entertain counteroffers to stay.
Moreover, some businesses also find that not all employees want to personally buy into the company brand. Many younger employees in the aerospace and defense sector, for example, may be passionate about space exploration but not keen on the “defense” applications of their work. These scenarios can vary greatly by industry and demographic, so it’s important to make sure that you are clear and transparent with your company values.
These demographic divisions can have a major impact on the implementation of new technologies in the workplace — particularly AI — and how they can affect careers. Though they see more benefits to greater AI implementation than drawbacks, employees in the United States remain divided on whether they think AI will help them at their jobs. Thirty percent told us they think that AI won’t impact them, but we believe that number should be much lower. And certain parts of the workforce agree.
First, division aligns with skill set. More experienced managers and senior executives recognize the need for maintaining and growing skills in time with new technology. Only 21% said AI won’t impact their job in the next five years. Meanwhile, the responses for non-managers were much higher — 36%.
Second, there’s a strong generational divide. Nearly half of baby boomers (44%) think their jobs are immune to AI’s impacts, while Gen Z and millennials hold a more realistic view of how new technologies will affect their positions. This can be attributed in part to tech adoption rates, but also where different age groups are along their career paths. Workers just getting established in their careers are often more concerned with keeping up with the latest knowledge and skills than employees who are winding down and considering retirement.
All this can be challenging to build a corporate strategy around, but the strategic benefits of implementing responsible AI solutions are worth the investment — especially when nearly 40% of CEOs don’t think their companies will be economically viable in ten years in their current states.
PwC’s 2023 Global Hopes and Fears Survey drew responses from nearly 54,000 workers in 46 countries and territories, including over 5,000 employees in the United States across 29 different industries. It was fielded in April, 2023.