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Global Gripe: Employees Say Work Tech Lags Behind Personal Tech

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Employees wish their technology experience in the work-place matched the experience of their personal lives. A global survey of more than 2,800 employees by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. found that workplace technology failed to meet employee expectations.

“Employees from all demographics are beginning to expect — and in many cases, demand — workplace technology to be as easy to adopt as their latest consumer applications,” said China Gorman, managing director at Kronos. “Workplace technology needs to be intuitive and easy. No more manuals. No more classes. Adoption as easy as learning the latest online game.”

Workplace Technology Fails to Meet Employee Expectations

  • Nearly half of employees surveyed worldwide (48%) wish their workplace technology performed just like their personal technology. Fewer than one in five (18%) do not want their workplace technology and personal technology to function similarly.
  • Employees in Mexico are least at ease using their workplace technology: Only 8% feel their workplace solutions are more user-friendly than their personal technology. The sentiment is similar around the globe, as fewer than a quarter of employees in Germany (24%), the United States (22%), Canada (20%), France (16%), Australia and New Zealand (13%), and the United Kingdom (13%) feel their workplace technology is more user-friendly than their personal technology.

Consumer Apps Far Simpler to Navigate than Business Processes

  • More than half of all employees surveyed worldwide (55%) agree it is easier to search for new movies on Netflix than to check the details of their employee benefits. In the U.S., employees in public safety (58%), education (55%), retail (53%), health care (51%) and manufacturing (49%) all find Netflix simpler.
  • It’s not just Netflix that’s simpler. For the U.S. financial sector, 51% of employees said shopping on Amazon to quickly find what they want is easier than asking their manager to take off a sick day, while 53% of contract and field service workers — those who often don’t report to a central office — said it’s easier to talk to personal digital assistants, such as Alexa, Cortana and Siri, than to their manager.
  • Less than half (43%) of logistics and transportation workers feel it’s easier to book a car through Lyft or Uber than to find out how many vacation days they have left.

Poor Technology Damages the Employee Experience

  • More than a third of employees surveyed worldwide (35%) feel their job is harder than it should be because of outdated processes and legacy technology. This attitude is most prevalent in Mexico (45%), France (43%) and the UK (40%).
  • For U.S. industries, employees in state and local government (55%), public safety (53%) and finance (43%) feel most strongly that outdated processes and technology make their job more difficult. Employees in contract and field services (38%), logistics and transportation (33%), retail and health care (both 30%), and manufacturing (29%) agree, though to a lesser extent.
  • Younger employees in the U.S. are less tolerant of poor work-place technology than older employees. While a fifth (20%) of Baby Boomers (age 55 and older) think outdated processes and technology make their job harder than it should be, that figure steadily increases for Gen Xers (ages 38 to 54: 34%), older Millennials (ages 28 to 37: 38%), younger Millennials ages (21 to 27: 40%) and Gen Z (ages 18 to 20: 39%).
  • A quarter of employees surveyed worldwide (25%) disagree with the notion that their workplace technology makes common activities more complicated by adding extra or unnecessary steps.

GLOBAL

Global Wage Growth Expected to Slow in 2019
After promising increases in 2018, global wage growth could take a step back in 2019.

A forecast by Korn Ferry found that salaries globally are expected to grow by an average of 1%, which is down from the 1.5% prediction for 2018. Salaries are adjusted for inflation.

“With inflation rising in most parts of the world, we’re seeing a cut in real-wage increases across the globe,” said Bob Wesselkamper, Korn Ferry’s Global Head of Rewards and Benefits Solutions. “The percentage of salary increase or decrease will vary by role, industry, country and region, but one thing is clear: On average, employees are not seeing the same real pay growth they did even one year ago.”

Highest Real-Wage Growth in Asia
In Asia, salaries are forecast to increase by 5.6%, up from 5.4% last year. Inflation-adjusted real-wage increases are expected to be 2.6%, the highest globally, but down from 2.8% last year.

China’s real-wage forecasted growth for 2019 weakened to 3.2%, down from 4.2% in 2018. Japan saw a real-wage prediction of 0.1% for 2019 compared to the 2018 prediction of 1.6%. Asian countries that saw year-over-year increases include Vietnam’s forecast of 4.8%, up from 4.6% last year, and Singapore’s forecast of 3%, up from 2.3% last year.

Eastern Europe Faring Better than Western Europe
According to the Korn Ferry forecast, employees in Eastern Europe are set to see an average salary increase of 6.6% in 2019. After taking inflation into account, real wages are forecast to rise by 2%, which is up from 1.4% last year. In Western Europe, workers are expected to see lower wage increases, with an average increase of 2.5%, and inflation-adjusted real-wage increases of 0.7%. This is down from the predicted 0.9% real-wage growth of last year.

Wages are predicted to increase 2.5% in the UK. Combined with a 1.9% inflation rate, real wages are expected to increase by 0.6%. This is up more than a percentage point from 2018, when wages were predicted to decrease by 0.5%. Employees in two of Europe’s largest economies, France and Germany, are forecast to see real-wage raises of 0.5% and 1% respectively.

North America Lagging
In North America, the average salary growth is predicted to be 2.8% in 2019, and when adjusted for inflation, the real-wage growth is expected to be 0.6%.

In the US, an average 3% pay increase is predicted, which is the same as last year and the year before. Adjusted for the expected 2.4% inflation rate in 2019, the real-wage increase is forecast to be 0.6%,  down from last year’s 1%. Canadian workers will see salaries increase by 2.6% and, with inflation at 2%, will also experience real-wage growth of 0.6%.

Inflation Tempers Salary Growth in Africa
Although top-line salaries will increase by 7.7% in Africa, high inflation means the real increase is predicted to be only 0.9%.

In Egypt, salaries are expected to increase by 15%, but a 14.4% inflation rate means employees will only see a 0.6% real-wage increase.

Latin America Sees Year-Over-Year Drop in Real-Wage Growth
Employees in Latin America are forecast to see a 4.6% gain in wages. With inflation, the real-wage increase in the region is expected to be 1.3%. This is down from 2.1% real-wage growth predictions from last year.

In Colombia, inflation is expected to be 2.9% for 2019. With a salary increase projected at 5%, this puts real wages for Colombia up 2.1%. In Brazil, the expected salary increase is 4.2%, and with 4.3% inflation, workers are expected to see a 0.1% decrease in real wages.

Middle East Sees Second-Lowest Real-Salary Increase
In the Middle East, wages are expected to increase by 3.6%, compared to 3.8% last year.

Inflation-adjusted wage increases are predicted to be 0.4%, compared to 0.9% last year and 2.5% the year before. Things are looking better in the United Arab Emirates this year, with an inflation rate of 3.2% combined with pay increases of 3.9%, which means that real wages are expected to increase by 0.7%. Last year, real wages were predicted to fall by 0.5%.

The Pacific Sees the Lowest Real Salary Increase
Wages in the Pacific are forecast to grow by 2.5%, and adjusted for inflation, the rise in real wages is predicted to be 0.3%.

Australia will see 2.5% in top-line growth, a 2.3% inflation rate and a 0.2% real wage increase. In New Zealand, a 2.5% salary increase is forecast and, when combined with 2.2% inflation, is expected to result in a 0.3% real-salary increase.

BELGIUM

Belgian College Grads Earn 11% More Than High School Grads
Workers in Belgium who start their careers with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of €36,574 ($41,687) annually, which is 11% more than the €32,803 ($37,389) paid to those who stop their education at high school.

The Willis Towers Watson Starting Salaries Report, which looked at pay levels offered to recent graduates who had no relevant work experience, found that having a master’s degree led to an average pay of €41,932 ($47,780), an MBA €46,753 ($53,273.41), and a doctorate €47,446 ($54,063).

“With unemployment figures continuing to decrease, and a tightening in the market for attracting young professionals, it is increasingly important that employers know the right levels of pay to remain competitive,” said Beatriz Castro, Willis Towers Watson Belgium. “Educated, skilled young professionals are highly sought after, and employers need an agile employee-value proposition to attract them.”

There was a wide range of pay offered to those in entry-level “starter” roles. With a bachelor’s degree, those entering IT were the best paid, with a maximum average of €37,729 ($42,996), closely followed by law (€37,336, or $42,548) and marketing (€37,267, or $42,462). The lowest paid were in customer services and technical support roles (€35,818, or $40,811), and administrative services (€35,876, or $40,877).

Starting salaries for bachelor’s degree graduates in Belgium compared favorably with those in neighboring France (€35,418, or $40,355) and the Netherlands (€37,003, or $42,158), but are lower than in Germany (€46,547, or $53,032).

The highest maximum starting salary found in the survey was €43,151 ($49,163) for those entering marketing roles with an advanced degree, such as a masters or Ph.D. 31.7% of Belgium’s workforce of 5.3 million has completed higher education.

Written and compiled by WorldatWork staff writer, Brett Christie 

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