2016 has been denounced as one of the worst years in history. Sounds like quite the contention when you consider the black plague of the 1350s or the wars and atrocities of the 1940s. Still, I must admit that on a personal level, 2016 was probably the worst year of my own life, which did make me wonder why this sentiment was shared by so many. Numerologists call 2016 a nine year, which is about endings and transitions, in preparation for new beginnings. Tough, yet necessary.
For the ancient Egyptians, the Great Year describes a cycle of what is in fact 24,000 years, half of which are marked by a descending from a golden age to a ‘dark age’, underscored by materialism, greed and unhappiness, and half of which are marked by an ascending back to a higher age, where spirituality, art, great architecture, higher consciousness and well-being presides for all. For those who believe in such things, we are now purportedly 1500 years into our journey toward a higher state of being.
Whether unfolding ancient prophesy or basic supply and demand economics, here are three trends from the world of work that give optimism for 2017 and beyond.
Each Generation wants more purpose at work than the one before
Generation Z are about to hit the workforce and according to a multigenerational study by Monster.com, 74% believe that work should have a greater purpose than earning a salary. This compares to 45% of Millennials, 40% of Generation X and 33% of Baby Boomers. For leading business thinker and author Daniel Pink, 'purpose' is one of the three vital ingredients of a happy and fulfilled life, and the better we feel in ourselves, the more we have to give to those around us.
Happiness is where the headway is
A 2016 study by Career Bliss, showed that the happiest workers were either recruiters or those in STEM disciplines. All of these workers spend their days in environments characterised by advancement, growth and progression, while recruiters in particular (who take the number 1 spot) get to help others make positive changes in their lives. While the Trump administration is creating a resurgence of jobs in arguably the wrong fields (construction and manufacturing workers are some of the unhappiest in the world), overall technology sectors show faster than average growth.
Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed
According to consultants at Deloitte, it’s the jobs that are ‘hard, dangerous and dull’ that have seen major industry decline, while roles that allow people to fulfill our potential as humans (caring, creative and technology roles), have seen rapid growth because of machines. Furthermore, technical innovation is contributing toward the green revolution of the future, with 15-60 million new ‘green’ jobs predicted in the very near future.
It has been argued that it's the right brained ‘human’ industries, which require us to use our unique capacities for connection and creativity, that represent what we should and will be doing in the future. There are many things to fear in a world of constantly shifting economic, environmental and political forces but it seems to me that things are moving in the right direction – let’s embrace the change.