Ryan Arthur earned a good salary. He had great advantages. And the market research consulting company that employed him was very satisfied with his work.
But during the pandemic, Arthur began a very focused job search that had little to do with financial considerations. The 28-year-old Manhattan resident set off in search of a job that would be more personally satisfying, focusing on the pharmaceutical industry – and he found it at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he is now responsible for customer and market knowledge in the field of oncology. division.
“I wanted to choose what I work on and stay connected to the work’s mission,” he says. “I know it sounds far-fetched, but it’s very real to my generation that improving the lives of others matters.”
This is not the end of the story. For Arthur — and for an American workforce emotionally battered by the pandemic — this may be just the beginning. To keep Arthur happy with any employer, he says he needs a new on-the-job challenge about every two years.
“The responsibility for the origin of loyalty has completely changed,” says Arthur, who is thrilled to feel personally fulfilled by his work on a market research team that communicates with physicians and consumers about of the pharmaceutical giant’s latest drug for the treatment of melanoma. “It’s no longer the employees who have to prove their loyalty, it’s the employers.”
The YOLO labor market
Arthur has plenty of company to demand empowerment and personal growth from his work. It’s a rapidly emerging employee mindset that some workplace consultants believe is the real reason why so many workers are still looking for a better job. For a host of reasons – some for higher pay, some for better benefits, and many in search of a better company culture – the American workforce is constantly looking for its fellow man. concert. According to PricewaterhouseCooper’s US Pulse Survey, 65% of workers nationwide say they are looking for a new job.
“We call it the ‘You Only Live Once’ economy,” says Julia Lamm, workforce transformation partner at PwC. Among Millennials and Gen Zers, Lamm says, “you’re expected to have multiple careers.”
Few know this better than Ryan Arthur’s mother, Susan Arthur, CEO of CareerBuilder, one of the nation’s largest marketplaces that matches job seekers with job openings. Currently, the site has three times as many job postings as it had at the start of the pandemic. At the same time, 40% of job seekers confirm that they have a side job, a kind of paid part-time job in the gig economy.
What happened to the days of the long-term faithful worker? “As a CEO of a company, I feel like those days are over,” says Arthur. “The days of joining a company and retiring from a company… well, I just don’t see it.” Instead, she says, from the moment she hires someone, she begins to think about what she needs to do to retain them. “Now I have to think about what special I can do to help this person grow.”
She, too, is a living example of the very trend she describes, having joined CareerBuilder during the pandemic, just nine months ago. Previously, she held management positions in several companies for a few years. But Arthur says she’s finding her groove at CareerBuilder, gaining tremendous insight into the future of work.
“We do a lot of work trying to understand what employees need in the future,” she says. CareerBuilder recently welcomed employees into the workplace on a voluntary basis. He created something called Team Building Tuesdays – a day when the company holds meetings and works with all teams to create a new dynamic of group cooperation.
CareerBuilder found that employers who offer a remote or hybrid work option received seven times more candidate responses than those who don’t. And employers who simply specify compensation information up front receive 10 times more responses than those who don’t.
In an attempt to prevent workers from bailing out, Arthur says one of CareerBuilder’s corporate clients – a major drug maker – has created a new modified shift from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its manufacturing plant, to give more flexibility for workers. “It takes a lot of creativity to appeal to today’s workers,” she says.
Call for bosses
This includes workers like Steve Wollkind, a highly paid senior software engineer from Medford, Mass. He spent the last decade at the same company, but only because the company continued to offer him a variety of roles with increasing responsibilities. “So I felt like I had worked for four or five different companies.”
Then, last August, Wollkind, 43, did some soul-searching and quit with no clear plan but to find something more personally rewarding. “I can afford to be demanding and avoid working for people or companies that I don’t respect,” he says. He believes he has the upper hand in the job market, even though he is not currently employed. “I now know what questions to ask when evaluating potential employers.”
In the new world of employees who are always searching, it is the workers, not the employers, who make the most critical assessment. “I don’t hesitate to call my bosses on what I think is garbage,” says Wollkind.
Few people understand this new world of future-proofing better than Jennifer Shapley, vice president of talent acquisition at LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 600 million members.
“We call it the Big Redesign,” says Shapley. “People are looking for new opportunities at a rate we’ve never seen before.”
In 2021, the number of national LinkedIn members who changed jobs increased by 40% over the previous year, she said.
In the tech industry especially, it can seem like every employee is always searching. The average seniority in Internet services and information technology is only 1.8 years, according to a study by LinkedIn.
How employers react
There are, however, ways to attract workers and keep them longer. Chief among them: Embracing the idea that flexibility is important. Employees are three times more likely to report being happy at work if they feel their employer genuinely cares about them — and 3.5 times more likely to recommend their employer to others, Shappley says. This all accelerated during the pandemic, she says.
Millennials and Gen Z employees, in particular, Shapley says, ask this two-part question: Why am I doing this job and what’s important to me?
“In the midst of the Great Shakeup, people are looking to work for organizations that align with their values,” Shappley says. “At the same time, companies need to clearly articulate their values and help candidates see that their organization aligns with their values. This is a huge change for companies to attract and retain talent. »
This is one of the reasons why, at the start of the year, PwC reinforced its “total rewards” strategy for its 40,000 employees. In addition to announcing a 5% mid-year salary increase for full-time employees in the United States, it also added a special bonus for highly skilled employees beyond the performance bonus pool. annual promotions and formalized a biannual promotion cycle to recognize the best Talent more frequently.
Even then, PwC doesn’t believe most of the employees it (or its clients) hire intend to stay on board for their careers. Instead, the most likely scenarios might involve moving top employees around the organization and then seeing them leave at some point, only to return elsewhere in the business ecosystem or even as a customer, explains Lamm. “The idea is that you hire and teach people skills instead of requiring five years of skills.”
Nor are employees passively looking for a job. They are actively looking, says Jim Link, director of human resources at the Society for Human Resource Management. While 53% of those in search say they want a better salary, 42% say they want a better work/life balance, he says.
“The pandemic has changed the worldview not only of employers about their employees, but also of employees about their employers,” Link says. “What they seek on a personal level dramatically influences where they go and where they stay.” Figure on hooking new employees in just two to three years, Link says.
The cynical CEO
But Gary Stibel remains skeptical of the Great Job Search.
The CEO of New England Consulting Group speaks regularly with some of the world’s largest employers. He thinks there’s a lot of hyperbole. “Of the 65% of people who say they’re looking for a new job, well, 35% are lying,” he says. “It’s like all the people saying they’re eating healthier – so why are McDonald’s and Frito-Lay on Fire?”
“It’s a bubble that will burst like any other bubble,” says Stibel, who notes that the best companies continue to promote from within and do whatever it takes to retain their best employees for a long time.
Which brings us back to Ryan Arthur. He changed jobs during the pandemic. Just like his CEO mother, Susan.
“I’ve had private conversations with her about the job offers that have been presented to her and she feels most weren’t tough enough to get into,” he says. “None of us want to feel like the job is too easy.”
Although he was very well paid, he became increasingly uncomfortable working for a consulting company which he said asked him to show a pharmaceutical client how to extract every last dollar from sale of an inferior pharmaceutical product.
Now, he says, in his new job at Bristol Myers Squibb, he proudly helps educate consumers and doctors about a new cancer drug. The company has already assured him that every two years or so they will encourage Arthur to work on an entirely different project, so that he can continue to grow without leaving the company.
It’s about smart companies being proactive, says Arthur, to keep employees from jumping ship. “If you do a good job, you shouldn’t have to fight for the next opportunity.”
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