By Thierry Malleret, economist
In rich countries, inflation is picking up yet wage inflation is not. “Normally,” an increase in employment (or even more so, full employment like in the U.S.) should lead to an increase in wages. But technology is creating a “new normal.” It is now eliminating well-paid jobs (stockbroker, credit analyst, writer and so on) while increasing the number of low paid ones for all those who work and compete in the new gig economy. This is progress with a dystopian twist and is destined to exacerbate the populist wave.
With such an unprecedented amount of uncertainty affecting the global outlook – and the labor market in particular – it should come as no surprise that the problem of burnout is worsening. This is true for most advanced economies around the world.
Burnout is commonly defined as a situation of emotional and physical exhaustion, associated with cynicism about work and self-doubt. It is often followed by mental health problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.
Executives now acknowledge that burnout is taking a toll on their business’ bottom line. At a macro level, it raises health costs and negatively affects economic growth through impaired productivity. For example, according to the Harvard Business School, workplace stress in the U.S. amounts to up to 8 percent of national spending on health and causes 120,000 deaths a year. A new study concludes that healthcare costs related to work stress range from an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion annually (in the U.S.).
What will it take to meaningfully address the issues of stress and burnout that stem from our new “always-on” culture? More than just yoga and meditation classes… A culture change is needed and, frankly, few companies are prepared for it.