Living with unequal reward

Living with unequal reward

David Fairs explores the changing motivations of today’s workforce in the new ‘World of Work’ blog


Partner, People Powered Performance

KPMG in the UK


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Recent workforce entrants are increasingly asking if it’s really worth the effort to work harder, longer and faster and to constantly aspire to climb the next rung on the ladder.

New motivations

Perhaps more than my generation, these people care about work/life balance and finding new skills and experiences. They’re often prepared to adjust their salary expectations accordingly. Unlike my generation, they do not equate salary and promotion to personal worth and don’t believe entering the upper reaches of the salary league table is worth striving for. Promotion is desirable, more because of the new experiences it brings rather than increased pay and responsibility.  

To my mind, this should herald the emergence of a new breed of senior leader, who sees corporate charisma as equally important to smart business ideas. They will paint a picture of their company’s vision, values and purpose that is compelling enough to inspire newer generations of workers.  

Attracting best talent  

We are beginning to see the emergence of this new type of leader in technology related areas. In the near future, however, I think we will see more individuals who can enthuse and attract the best talent, and with that will come phenomenal rewards.  

Of course, the job of constantly painting an attractive, values-driven picture will be no mean feat. It will also be at the mercy of external, societal factors. What makes a company’s ethos attractive can change fairly quickly – flavour of the month can easily become millstone around the neck, two years later.  

Unequal distribution of income  

The moment one of these super-talented individuals leaves, they’ll probably take all the charisma with them. This rather validates the growing popularity of pop-up organisations which are better suited to the vagaries of shifting public sentiment.  

However, the contrast between this richly remunerated elite and the growing battalions of ‘enough reward’ workers strongly points towards a more unequal distribution of income.   

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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