2003 Mona Mourshed

‘The Great Rethink we really need is to figure out what it will take to get more people into work, as quickly and effectively as possible’

Reflections on The Future of Work 2023 from WorkingNation Advisory Board member Mona Mourshed

We asked our WorkingNation Advisory Board to share their thoughts on the most important issues and challenges facing the workforce and the labor market in the coming year.

Mona Mourshed is the executive director of Generation, a global youth employment program and the flagship effort of McKinsey Social Initiative.

She recently wrote about breaking down barriers to economic mobility for an opinion piece for Fast Company. Here are some excerpts for our The Future of Work 2023 series.

“What’s life like for workers now? Somewhere between terrible and meh, based on a quick scan of the news. We’re all enduring the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, the Great Rethink. Whatever you call it, it feels like the opposite of great. Companies are coping with an epidemic of quiet quitting (the Chinese call it “laying flat”), where no sane employee willingly puts in more than the bare minimum. And why should they, since most workplaces are “toxic,” and “burnout” is endemic?

To be fair, the headlines capture hard truths. Too many employers did get away with treating workers transactionally, particularly those in lower-paid roles: You give, they take.

When life is short, as the pandemic reminded us, where, how, and with whom we spend our time deserves serious attention. Much of today’s heartfelt work-life debate reflects a healthy and necessary rebalancing.

But here’s the problem.

In our rush to decry everything that’s wrong with jobs, we are overlooking something essential: what’s right about jobs. We risk forgetting the basic fact that for most workers in most countries, gainful employment remains the key to achieving financial independence and economic mobility.

It offers the best path for meeting daily financial needs and for improving well-being by enabling people to save money for things like better quality housing. Given that reality, what will help ensure that as many people as possible get the opportunity to land decent jobs and change their life trajectory?”

“Tens of millions across the world continue to face systemic barriers to even entering employment. Cracking the code on reducing hiring barriers in entry-level tech jobs, which are among the fastest-growing job roles globally, will also be an important piece of the puzzle.”

“The Great Rethink we really need is to figure out what it will take to get more people into work, as quickly and effectively as possible.”

To read more about what Mourshed believes needs to be done to break down these barriers, read the full opinion piece for Fast Company here.

You can read all The Future of Work 2023 articles from our WorkingNation Advisory Board here.

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