What caught my attention – week of 14 October 2019

Greetings from Hong Kong and Singapore!

1. Conscious kids… Generation Alpha (from JWT Intelligence)

“Brands, take heed: a rising generation of digital native consumers, born between 2010 and 2025, are primed to overhaul the consumer landscape. Raised on technology, eagerly principled and the apples of their parents’ eyes, this generation’s expectations already present a powerful force for brands.

Influenced by their millennial parents and gen Z role models, this rising cohort is characterized by their strong ethics and values. According to a 2019 report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 59% would like to work somewhere saving lives, while 51% want a job where they can use technology to make a difference. Echoing the rallying cry of gen Z climate activists, 67% of 6-9-year-olds say that saving the planet will be the focus of their career.

These values will steer their purchasing habits and determine brand loyalty, with 66% of all gen Alphas saying they want to buy from companies that are trying to do good in the world.”

2. Female CEO tenure… Much has been written about the current underrepresentation of female CEOs globally (well, senior management for that matter), however I got more curious about tenure – once promoted or hired do female CEOs stay in position longer than their male counterparts or not. I did some investigation but the research on this topic is even more limited (and outdated). Below is what I found. If you’ve anything relevant do share it. Thank you!

“Consistent with the theory of the glass cliff, we find that occupational minorities—defined as white women and men and women of color—are more likely than white men to be promoted to CEO of weakly performing firms,” they write. The length of their tenure wasn’t all that different than white male CEOs, but they found that these leaders were more likely to be replaced by white men.” (from FastCompany)

“With a smaller internal leadership pool to choose from, companies hiring female executives from outside are also likely to be less tolerant of shortcomings than they are with executives groomed in-house. And external CEOs are seven times more likely to be dismissed after a short tenure. “We tend to like those that are most like us,” says Favaro. “Sadly, company boards are still mostly men, and they’re more inclined to pull the trigger on women if things aren’t working out. Women are treated more harshly by men because there are more men in the boardroom.” As long as this lasts, he adds, “women will be at a disadvantage”.” (from The Guardian)

Consistent with the glass cliff, we find that women are appointed as CEOs in precarious situations. However, we find female CEOs are 40% less likely to face turnover at any point after appointment than male CEOs. This conflicts with an implication of the glass cliff and differs significantly from existing research which shows that female CEOs have only a slightly lower risk of turnover than male CEOs. Our larger, more recent sample captures changes in the labour market that explain the departure from the results of earlier studies. We find evidence that the lower turnover rate of female CEOs is related to firms’ desire to avoid the negative publicity that would accompany their termination, and we also show that greater education has a positive impact on CEO job security.” (from Wiley)

Slightly off topic, but interesting: “A number of governments (notably those in India, California, and parts of Europe) are pushing for greater female representation in the boardroom. And several studies suggest why: Having women on the board results better acquisition and investment decisions and in less aggressive risk-taking, yielding benefits for shareholders. […] having female board members helps temper the overconfidence of male CEOs, improving overall decision making for the company.” (from HBR)

3. The future of work… Two trends reshaping the future of work in 2020 and beyond! (from TrendWatching)

“But here’s the thing: yes, the what, who and where of work will continue to be disrupted by AI and robotics. But people are essential drivers of our economy – and that won’t change. What will shift are the types of jobs available and the skills needed for them.

Many employees are more willing to adapt than managers and governments give them credit for – a survey conducted by the Harvard Business School’s the Future of Work and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute that spanned 11,000 middle-skills workers in 11 countries found that 46% consider themselves personally responsible for preparing for changes, and 75% report probably or definitely seeing a need to prepare for future work trends.

4. (Un)Retirement… Why Unretirement Is Working for Older Americans (from RAND)

“One study of “the puzzling aspect of retirement behavior known as ‘unretirement’” found that 82 percent of retirees who returned to work anticipated doing so all along and weren’t forced to do so by financial shocks, poor planning, or lack of savings. For the small minority who unexpectedly returned to work, the evidence suggests they did so because retirement was less satisfying than expected. That same study found that about half of retirees followed nontraditional paths of retirement in that they did not exit the labor force permanently.

Another RAND study determined that Americans are better prepared for retirement than most people think, with about 71 percent of Americans ages 66–69 having adequate resources to retire. Researchers reached this conclusion by looking at how much people consume in their retirement, rather than how much of their working income they will replace through Social Security and other resources. They found that, even as people live longer, healthier lives, they eventually slow down and need less income to support this less-active lifestyle.”

+1 Book I’m reading this week: James O’Dea – Conscious Activist

Award-winning author James O’Dea has created a handbook for those interested in Sacred Activism, a fusing spiritual knowledge with radical action. O’Dea outlines the polarities between the inner path of spiritual growth and the outer path of social activism, concluding that the two must co-exist in equal weighting so that the human race can become a compassionate force for good.

James O’Dea is author of The Conscious Activist, Cultivating Peace, Soul Awakening Practice (June 2017) and other acclaimed works. James is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation. He worked with the Middle East Council of Churches in Beirut during a time of war and massacre and lived in Turkey for five years during civil upheaval and coup d’etat.
He has taught peacebuilding to over a thousand students in 30 countries. He has also conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a member of The Evolutionary Leaders group and on the Advisory Board of The Peace Alliance and Kosmos Journal. James also mentors emerging leaders. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. James is both an activist and mystic.