Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching today:
1) There are changes afoot in the professional workforce. That’s according to a report from Thomson Reuters released Thursday, which finds that a majority of the more than 1,000 workers polled would, if given a choice, take a job they enjoy over one that pays them more. And if you think there’s a generational divide there, think again. According to the report, Millennials (or those roughly 18 to 35 years old) are just as likely as older workers to make that choice, the survey finds.
The report polled 1,002 professionals in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Brazil and India spanning fields in health care, financial risk, law, taxes and accounting, and scientific research. The respondents were split more or less evenly across both geography and professional sectors, according to the report’s methodology, and the findings were cited as being within a plus or minus 3.1 percent margin of error.
When given the choice between knowledge, skills, work experience, education and integrity, respondents found knowledge to be the trait that most defines professions (77 percent) and the trait they would most likely associate with themselves (71 percent). Health-care professionals were the most likely to see their work as important, while those in scientific research and development were the least likely.
And it looks as though cubicle walls are no friend to today’s modern professional, since a majority of respondents found collaborative work environments to be “very important to my work,” and slightly smaller majorities said they socialize with their colleagues both in and outside of the office. The report also found a “muted” gender gap, with men and women responding in roughly equal percentages that they prefer interactive/collaborative team environments and that “solving problems is very important to me.” The report did find, however, that women wanted validation for their work more than their male counterparts did.
Regardless of gender, male and female professionals in emerging markets felt better about their career prospects than their developed world counterparts. Respondents in emerging markets were more likely to be optimistic, believe that hard work would pay off every time and desire a competitive collaborative workplace. They also wanted to be entrepreneurial in their jobs more than those in developed markets.
So it should come as little surprise that more professionals in developed markets said they would “retire completely” if they woke up and found themselves set for life. In a somewhat related finding, more respondents in developed markets found striking a work-life balance to be more important than getting ahead professionally. But, overall, 42 percent of respondents said they were worried about their careers, with those in Brazil being the most worried and, interestingly, the most likely to prioritize a job they enjoy over a well-paying one.
Meanwhile, according to the survey, workers in India prefer stressful situations. Of all of the countries represented, a majority of respondents from India said they preferred a stressful situation. It was the only country, of the ones represented, for which that was the case.
2) The growing buzzing sound you hear is “innovation,” and it is now bouncing around the customer-service sector. Kerry Bodine for Harvard Business Review cites a survey from Forrester, which finds that a growing number of companies are hiring around “customer experience innovation.” That’s great, but there’s a problem, writes Bodine:
“Everyone talks about customer experience innovation, but no one knows quite what it is or how to attain it. In fact, when we ask customer experience professionals how they’re driving their innovation efforts, we find several misguided approaches that actually thwart differentiation and waste massive amounts of time and money in the process.”
Bodine, in addition to outlining the problem, proposes three solutions: “reframe innovation opportunities,” “ground innovation in the business model,” and “infuse innovations within the brand.” So, about that buzzword…
3) Will we have any use for our brains in the future? It’s hard not to see this as a valid question in the near future, especially when you read about work being done in “deep learning” — a sub-discipline of computer science that is making its way on to the scene. Wired’s Daniela Hernandez writes about the work of University of Montreal computer science professor Yoshua Bengio and his team as they attempt to create machines that can learn with the power of the human mind and without human intervention.
4) If you’ve ever wondered what the cover of People magazine would look like if the Avengers — yes, those Avengers — were real, there’s a Tumblr for that. Meredith Woerner over at io9 writes that MediaAvengers Tumblr is building a collection of well-known magazine covers with real-life (and, dare I say, downright mundane) headlines about the superhero cohort.
5) And, in case you missed The White House’s We The Geeks Google hangout earlier today, you can catch it here: