This year’s college grads think they’ll earn over $100,000 from their first job. In reality, they’ll make half as much

By Jane Thier

The average starting salary for college graduates is $55,000, but current college students think they’ll earn nearly double that amount from their first job out of school.

The students said they expect to make almost $104,000, according to a recent survey of 1,000 undergrads by real estate data company Clever.

The lofty expectations are a fairly new development. The class of 2019, for example, had expected to earn nearly $50,000 less, Danetha Doe, an economist at Clever, tells Fortune. “They’re asking for more, so they can enjoy the financial comfort other generations have been able to afford,” she says, though most students clearly are having to settle for far less.

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Work is broken. Can we fix it?

The Future of Work issue of the Highlight looks at the workers Americans dubbed “essential” and then largely left behind in the work revolution. Can we make work better for the nation’s crucial workforce? 

“We often begin to understand things only after they break down. This is why, in addition to being a worldwide catastrophe, the pandemic has been a large-scale philosophical experiment,” Jonathan Malesic, author of The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives, writes in this month’s issue of the Highlight. 

What has broken down, of course, is work, and what American workers, policymakers, and employers now can see plainly are the countless truths the pandemic laid bare: that productivity does not actually require an air-polluting, hourlong daily drive to a soulless downtown office building; that a fair and just society ought not put the poorest, most vulnerable Americans in danger in the name of capitalism; that the entire economy might just be held together by a rapidly dwindling sea of people — child care workers — earning roughly $13 an hour, with no benefits. 

In this month’s Future of Work issue, the Highlight and Recode teamed up to explore the precarity faced by those workers whom the Great Resignation did not offer much in the way of increased power or security. We look beyond simply what is broken about their working lives, asking policy experts and workers themselves: What could make work better? 

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‘The Great Resignation’ is creating more entrepreneurs, side hustlers, and freelancers

By Vera Gibbons

Susana Boey has always been a hard-working high-achiever so when she took a job in corporate marketing at an international media company in New York City in 2015, she rolled up her sleeves and enthusiastically got to work.

Every day, the now 31-year old Boey would make the hour-and-a-half commute from her apartment in Washington Heights to midtown Manhattan, work through lunch, and stay well past 6 p.m. “If I could fit in anything after work, that was a bonus. Work was my life and I was very fulfilled living this way,” she said, until one day she wasn’t.

“The pandemic hit, budgets got cut, workloads got bigger, workdays got longer, and I got tired,” said Boey. “I wanted a different life.”

Boey quit last spring, becoming part of a movement that’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation.”

In August alone, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs. That’s the highest number on record since the government began collecting data 20 years ago.

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Nearly 2 in 3 women who left the workforce during Covid plan to return—and most want to enter this field


By Jennifer Liu

Women have born the brunt of job loss and negative career impacts over the course of the pandemic, due to a host of factors such as carrying the weight of caregiving responsibilities, as well as their overrepresentation in in-person jobs vulnerable to disruption during the Covid-19 crisis.

As a result, nearly half of all women say the pandemic has negatively impacted their career path, according to a MetLife survey of 2,000 U.S. workers conducted in September. Nearly 1 in 5 women say they’ve been pushed out of the labor force altogether.

One encouraging sign is emerging, however, which could signal greater economic recovery: 2 in 3 women who’ve been forced out of work say they plan to return, according to MetLife.

At the same time, U.S. employers are facing a talent crunch as Americans quit their jobs at record rates throughout 2021, in search of roles better suited to their needs and interests. As such, employment experts say businesses must turn their attention toward what kind of work environment and solutions they can provide in order to hire and retain more working women.

Women are overwhelmingly looking for increased flexibility (78%) and career progression opportunities (73%) in their current or future employer, the MetLife report finds.

The majority of women also say that it’s important their current or future employer provides economic incentives; tailored benefits; upskilling programs; and diversity, equity and inclusion programs in order for them to feel well supported in the workplace.

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The 10 fastest-growing science and technology jobs of the next decade

By Morgan Smith

While the coronavirus pandemic has battered some industries, others have thrived despite the ongoing crisis, including technology and science. In fact, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for jobs in math, science and technology will continue to surge over the next decade. 

Hiring in the computer and information technology fields has faster projected growth between 2020 and 2030 than all other fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that demand for these workers stems from companies’ “greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.” https://36fb0f20cce80f27104950e6c539a9f4.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

The coronavirus pandemic has expedited demand for other science and technology roles as well, including epidemiologists and information security analysts. “The prevalence of remote work has created additional need for network security and operations support,” Megan Slabinski, the district president for global talent solutions at recruitment firm Robert Half, tells CNBC Make It. Slabinski specializes in recruiting for technology positions. 

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Dying Careers You May Want to Steer Clear Of

It’s tough to change, but your job could depend on it. Be flexible in your career goals – and talk with your kids about their own aspirations, because if you want to be employed for the long haul, you need to think about how industries are changing.

by: Neale Godfrey

No one has a crystal ball, but we are in a time of great change, and we want our skills to be relevant and needed moving forward. And just as important, we want our kids and grandkids to have happy and fulfilling jobs.  Which brings us to an important question: What jobs are likely to disappear or become obsolete over the next decade or so?

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I spoke to 5,000 people and these are the real reasons they’re quitting

BY KIM SEELING SMITH

If you are like most managers, you probably frequently ask yourself:

“How do I get the best out of my team?”

“What truly motivates them?”

“How can I help them unlock their potential?”

You may also ask, especially around performance review time, “How can I manage their performance without a lot of stress or sweaty-palm-inducing conversations?”

There have been reams of information written about employee motivation and performance over the last 100 years. But we’ve found there are nine key factors that impact these metrics—and they are much more important than pay and benefits.

I call these nine factors the Currencies of Choice. I discovered them as the result of reverse-engineering during 5,000 exit interviews I conducted with an international team of recruiters over the course of 15 years.

This research, along with numerous studies from organizations and managers who regularly use the Currencies of Choice model, shows that intrinsic motivators are much more effective in keeping employees motivated and engaged—and helping them perform well and realize their potential—than pay and benefits.

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In the Middle of the Great Resignation, Employers Are Rejecting Millions of Qualified Workers, New Harvard Research Finds

Problematic hiring software and bad job descriptions deserve a big chunk of the blame.

BY JESSICA STILLMAN

A scroll through business media or even a stroll through your local downtown is enough to reveal just how desperate companies are to hire right now. “Help Wanted” signs adorn nearly every shop window, and the press is full of stories of companies offering extraordinary perks to attract talent. 

Given the incredible difficulty of hiring during “the Great Resignation,” you’d therefore probably be pretty shocked to hear that many of America’s most respected businesses are turning away millions of qualified applicants for no good reason at all. But that’s just what recent research from Harvard and Accenture found. 

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“Great resignation” wave coming for companies


By Erica Pandey

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave.

What’s happening: Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks’ notice and make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

“The great resignation” is what economists are dubbing it.

  • Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.
  • “I don’t envy the challenge that human resources faces right now,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.
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1 in 4 workers is considering quitting their job after the pandemic—here’s why

Compassionate Eye Foundation/Gary Burchell

By Jennifer Liu

In 2019, workers were quitting their jobs at record rates, with labor experts saying workers did so in order to secure the pay raises and promotions they weren’t getting from within.

Then, beginning in March 2020, the labor market shed 20.5 million jobs in the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, a year later, there are still nearly 7.9 million fewer Americans counted as employed than in February 2020, while the labor force is down 3.9 million.

But with signs pointing toward recoveryin many economic sectors, workers are feeling the itch to job-hop yet again. By some estimates, 1 in 4 workers is planning to look for opportunities with a new employer once the threat of the pandemic has subsided, according to Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey. The data, collected by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential in March 2021, includes a sample of 2,000 employed adults, including a statistically significant sample of workers that are or have been working remotely during the pandemic.

Here’s a look at who’s planning to leave, and what employers should be thinking about as they retain — or recruit — in a post-pandemic environment.

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Some Big Tech companies may be tapping the brakes on the work-from-home-forever trend

A year into the global pandemic, Amazon and Google are pushing for a return to the office.

BY CONNIE LIN

In March 2020, when the nation began working from home after the coronavirus pandemic breached U.S. shores, the shift was immediate and extreme. Speculators mused that the worldwide experiment in remote business would revolutionize the work economy. And naturally Big Tech, having already pioneered the digital frontier, seemed poised to lead the charge.

For a while, it did: In May 2020, Silicon Valley mammoths Facebook, Twitter, and Square all said their employees could opt to work from home indefinitely should they wish. Google initially fronted one of the longest timetables for a return to the office. But now a year into the global pandemic, it appears to be pulling back the horses on remote work.

The search engine giant said Wednesday it will speed up office reopening plans in April for those who volunteer before the September 1 deadline, according to a memo cited by CNBC. The company, which made headlines last year for eyeing a “hybrid” workweek schedule, also reportedly said that after September 1, employees who want to work remotely more than 14 days per year must formally apply for it—requesting up to 12 months in “the most exceptional circumstances.” (We reached out to Google for comment on the memo.)

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What a Year of WFH Has Done to Our Relationships at Work

by Nancy Baym, Jonathan Larson, Ronnie Martin

We know it’s been a while, but do you remember bumping into colleagues in the office hallway, chatting about weekend plans or a big project you’re working on? Do you recall finding yourself in the right place at the right time, giving someone a missing piece of information or introducing a colleague to someone new? If you’re like many people, you may not have realized how much these conversations mattered until you found yourself working from home.

These informal interactions are key to what’s known as social capital — benefits people can get because of who they know. You rely on your social capital every time you’ve hit a dead end and someone pitched in to help you, even though they didn’t have to. It shows up when you need expertise and someone you’d only met once was able to offer it. You also help others build their social capital when you go above and beyond to support them with knowledge, mentoring, or kindness. And the reason you can turn to someone else and offer extra help is that you’ve built a base of familiarity and goodwill through these unplanned interactions that once filled our workdays.

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