Top 5 trends from the world of work


Traditionally, mothers have always been the ones responsible for taking time off work to look after children. Women often take on an unfair burden of unpaid care each week. But the pandemic has accelerated a huge shift: many fathers are taking a more active role in family life. Can paid, mandatory paternity leave make a big dent in workplace equality?

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In this issue’s edition of Top 5 trends from the world of work, we’re looking at women in the workplace and the trending stories around equality. From the companies making fast-moving changes in workplace parental leave to the ways in which affordable childcare would help women save for retirement, these are the trends in the world of work.

Here are the latest 5 trends from the world of work

#1. Is paternity leave the key to workplace equality?

#2. “My company is not my family.”

#3. Affordable childcare would boost women’s retirement savings, report finds.

#4. The boomerang employees returning to previous employers – with new skills and new experience.

#5. Why workers and employers are suddenly ghosting each other.

For decades, mothers have traditionally been the ones who left work to look after children.

But the pandemic has accelerated a new shift: fathers wanting to take more of an active role in family life. Fast-moving changes in the workplace parental leave world have resulted in big shifts for mothers and fathers alike, as well as the co-workers who pick up the slack.

If older, male leaders within an organization look down on younger colleagues taking time off to spend with their families, they might be risking losing those employees to different companies with more forward-thinking policies.

Are we still thinking of fathers as the breadwinners in the family, and the women as caregivers? Read more here.

The Great Resignation opened up a dramatic shift in the world of work for so many companies and employees alike. Some workers in the U.S. took advantage of their newfound options by quitting their toxic jobs, others negotiated for a raise, and some…some decided to slowly scale back their working hours.

Some workers saw this as their chance to work less. U.S.-based recruiter Justin, for example, had spent much of his working life putting in 10- to 12-hour days. He didn’t want to keep spending so much of his life dedicated to work, especially after the birth of his first child. So he decided to very slowly scale back.

"I was sweating bullets, but I was like, look, they're not going to fire me," Justin told Insider. "It would take them months to find someone new and train them up. My lessened productivity is better than zero productivity."

For many lifelong overachievers, work has become just that: work. For the first time ever, these professionals are seeing their jobs as a simple source of income to support their families instead of some higher calling that demands all their time and dedication.

“These companies just see you as a resource, not as a person," one IT worker told Insider.

The pandemic has only made it easier for these professionals to put their jobs in perspective, too. Amid a tumultuous labour market and talent shortages, workers feel like they have job security. It’s the perfect time to be a recovering overachiever.

Many people around the globe would call these employees lazy, unambitious, or shiftless. But name calling misses the point. Instead, these workers say they are making a considered, educated decision. They are done letting companies squeeze out extra hours of overtime. Is this the end of hustle culture? Read the full piece at Insider.  

Women could save up to $118,000 more for their retirement if the Australian government increased subsidies on childcare, according to new research by Industry Super Australia (ISA).

Childcare costs take a big toll on women, especially financially. Now, one study is revealing the exact financial cost for women in Australia. In Australia, the government subsidies up to 85% of childcare costs for lower income households. However, for every percentage point a family earns over $70,000 a year, that subsidies goes down – a lot.

Increasing subsidies could help close the gap between men and women, who retire with an average of a third less than men. According to research by the Grattan Institute, this dramatic fall in subsidy discourages women with small children from working more than a few days a week. Read more in the Guardian.

In 2018, Lien Ceulemans left Salesforce and took a new job at Google. In 2021, she returned to Salesforce, becoming a “boomerang” employee.

“The people I used to work with reached out when a role came up,” Ceulemans told the Financial Times.

It may seem odd to return to a previous employer, but it’s more common than most people think. LinkedIn found that 4.5 per cent of new recruits on its platform were boomerangs last year compared with 3.9 per cent in 2019.

There are advantages to the employee, of course: you’re familiar with the workplace culture, and it can be easier to integrate with the company.

Of course, there are also advantages for the employer: you may save money on recruitment and training costs all while increasing productivity. One Cornell study found that boomerangs outperformed new hires, especially in roles that involved “relatively high levels of administrative co-ordination, such as project manager and purchasing agent that encompass planning, goal setting, scheduling, and the application of organisational routines and rules.” Read more at the Financial Times.

Laura was invited for a final-stage interview at a multinational company in London, and she thought she was on the cusp of landing her dream job.

“It was presented to me as a formality,” she told the BBC. “The interview went well, and I was later told I’d got the job.”

But after that – nothing. Despite those initial guarantees, Laura never got any contract or follow-up emails. In fact, she barely heard from the company at all. She is one of many workers who were ghosted. Instead of sending formal rejection letters, or explaining what happened, her potential employer ignored her.

It’s not just companies, either. Employees are ghosting back. Some of that ghosting is happening during the interview process, while others never even show up to work. Are we stuck in a ghosting spiral? Read more at the BBC.

What else made headlines this month?

Young women are out-earning young men in several U.S. cities, data shows.  

How to prevent a lost generation of women at work.  

Almost half of working-age women in UK do 45 hours of unpaid care a week, study finds.  

How to show off your soft skills when applying for jobs.  

Women-led UK firms struggle to attract equal investment, study finds.