The economy isn’t performing too well right now thanks to years of thoughtless growth followed by the hit of COVID-19. The people most hurt by the COVID-19 crisis are the most vulnerable. It’s been widely reported on how women have lost a lot of gains made in the workplace as the “traditional” household roles are now being put back on them. We can do better, and we know how to do better than this.
The previous decade of growth was made at the expense of the environment and people’s wellbeing, the current reboot of the economy doesn’t need to be thoughtless. This time around we can generate economic growth that includes everybody.
YWCA Canada and The Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have partnered to create a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada, which proposes a new path forward for Canada’s economy – one that focuses on changing the structures and barriers that have made some groups more vulnerable to the pandemic and its fallout than others. The report highlights 8 pillars for recovery with a focus on supporting the care economy, investing in social infrastructure and supporting women-owned businesses.
Today at Collision conference Shaquille O’Neal made an appearance to promote Steady, a company that wants to help working Americans get a steady financial life. The company was founded by Adam Roseman a few years ago with the goal of making life more predictable for the average American. As nearly everyone knows, inequality has been increasing since the last recession and now companies like Steady are looking to stop that growth. Their platform helps people find work while also learning how to budget and other financial bits of wisdom.
Growing up in a single-parent home, Roseman saw first hand the daily financial struggles many Americans face. The vision for Steady came to Roseman after seeing the plight of his recently retired father. Like many Americans, his father found he didn’t have enough retirement savings and needed to work part-time to make ends meet. Roseman stepped in, suggesting his father look for flexible work opportunities that fit his needs, availability and interests. And through Steady, Roseman and his team hope to help millions more.
I’m attending Collision at Home this week.
Before the pandemic too many people spent too much of the time working instead of living. Now, the opposite is true with employers in North America firing people left and right because companies didn’t save a rainy day fund. Indeed, some companies aren’t paying rent and getting away with it (unlike individuals). Maybe there’s a way to save jobs and our mental health. If we went down to a four day workweek we could see an increase in productivity in some jobs, while in other jobs it could open the door for more employment.
“The pandemic has created a moment for businesses to take stock and consider more radical reconstructions of the workplace. It is a time for experimentation and a reevaluation of what it means to be productive,” said Andrew Barnes, author of “The 4 Day Week” and co-founder of the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global. Barnes has emerged as a global ambassador of sorts for a four-day workweek, since switching his own New Zealand-based firm onto that schedule back in 2018 and finding it improved productivity and morale.
“By focusing on productivity and output rather than time spent in a workplace, the four-day week allows for better work-life balance, improved employee satisfaction, retention and mental health,” he said.
If you work in a unionized environment you’re likely doing better than a person in a non-union environment according to a study done in California. You’re also less likely to make use of the state’s welfare system. What’s more this means that the whole state benefits from unions as more economic activity is happening as a result with less costs imposed on the social welfare system. The pandemic has really made it clear that unions can make a big difference in how workplaces react to the economic troubles.
Workers covered by a union contract in California earn an average of 12.9 percent more than non-union workers with similar demographic characteristics and working in similar industries.
Overall, we estimate that unions increase workers’ earnings in California by $18.5 billion annually through collective bargaining.
Unions decrease by 30.6 percent the likelihood that a worker is in a family where at least one member is enrolled in a public safety net program, compared to non-union workers with similar demographic characteristics and working in similar industries.
A few years ago the CEO of Gravity Payments, Dan Price, decided to change the pay structure at his company to ensure a better and happier workplace. He decided to make the base salary $70,000 and it changed the lives of all employees for the better. The company has tippled its revenue since the change in 2015, employees are able to afford housing, and employee pension contributions are up. This is how you create a happy productive workforce!
Hopefully more companies will realize that actually paying workers what they are worth will make the entire corporation better.
Breathing in the crisp mountain air as he hiked with Valerie, Price had an idea. He had read a study by the Nobel prize-winning economists Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, looking at how much money an American needs to be happy. He immediately promised Valerie he would significantly raise the minimum salary at Gravity.
After crunching the numbers, he arrived at the figure of $70,000. He realised that he would not only have to slash his salary, but also mortgage his two houses and give up his stocks and savings. He gathered his staff together and gave them the news.
He’d expected scenes of celebration, but at first the announcement floated down upon the room in something of an anti-climax, Price says. He had to repeat himself before the enormity of what was happening landed.