The return to the origins of the World Economic Forum. Davos 2020: sustainability and workers


The WEF moves towards sustainability. Businesses have changes to make to achieve certain goals


The Davos meeting returns to its origins after nearly 50 years, as explained by its founder, Professor Charles Schwab. The intentions of the first meeting in 1971 were to carry forward the idea that business should serve all stakeholders: consumers, employees, and communities. It now has one addition: sustainability. The year after Greta Thunberg’s speech, the meeting’s ecological footprint will be drastically reduced to reach a carbon neutral level. To move this transformation forward, it is clear that businesses also have a lot to do in order to achieve certain goals. A Manpower report entitled What Workers Want offers a snapshot of this situation from the perspective of workers. The skill gap widened in 2019: 54% of companies complain of a shortage of qualified candidates to cover certain job positions. Ten years earlier, this stood at 30%. But what do workers want? First and foremost is money, as one might expect. A salary commensurate to the challenges of the role is the top of the list for all of the categories analysed in this study, amongst women and men aged 18 to 54 years. This only changes for men who continue work after 65: older Boomers want their job to be stimulating and consistently motivating. But for Millennials between 25 and 34 years of age, closely behind salary is the need to have flexible hours to meet the needs of individual workers, as it is a period in which they may choose to buy a house, get married, and maybe even have children, which is a need that is also shared with the slightly larger Generation X. Another large number stands out: additional benefits also count alongside wages for 89% of workers in the United States, in order to have a better lifestyle and be more productive at work. Customisation holds an even greater importance: algorithms should be used to meet their needs, according to 49% of workers, in order to obtain personalised benefits. Work relationships are also significant: 62% of the sample group said that having a manager who listens is essential for avoiding burnout-related issues. Managers must lead by example, and be a “chief learning officer” to ensure that continuous training in the company starts first and foremost from the top. There must be a signal from top management that productivity is more important than presenteeism: in the UK, only 6% of the workforce works a 5-day week of 9 hour days. Employee well-being is therefore crucial to ensure that company dynamics remain healthy and efficient, at a time when transformation is necessary to reduce one’s ecological footprint.

L'autore

Matteo Muzio

Matteo Muzio Nato a Genova nel 1985, in tasca una laurea in storia contemporanea e una tessera di giornalista professionista. Ama scrivere di economia, di cultura e di altre varie ed eventuali. Ho scritto per le pagine genovesi di Repubblica, per il Foglio, L’Espresso e il Fatto Quotidiano. Scrive per il Corriere della Sera. Mi piacciono anche i treni, l’Appennino ligure, il cibo campano. Un po’ liberale, un po’ socialista.