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Written by Kieran Delamont, Associate Editor, London Inc.


The incredible shrinking workweek

We’re working less on Fridays than we used to. And the data says that’s okay

NEXT TIME THE workday is dragging, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Man, it feels like this day will never end,’ you can take some comfort in this new finding: the average workday worldwide has actually shrunk over the past three years.


The finding comes courtesy of workforce analytics platform ActivTrak, which analyzed data from more than 900 global employers and found that the average workday contracted by 15 per cent between 2021 and 2023 ― from nine hours and 52 minutes to nine hours and 5 minutes ― while productivity in the data remained stable.


In North America, the average was dragged down mostly by early log-offs on Fridays, where the average worker clocks out at 4:03 p.m. ― an hour earlier than they did three years ago.


“Why isn’t the sky falling, and worker productivity along with it? Growing evidence suggests it’s because taking it easier one day of the week can supercharge performance on others,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans. “The once-casual Friday slid further into work-leisure limbo land, emerging less a full-on workday and more a staging ground for the weekend ― some bosses are even discovering their staff work more effectively when they’re left to sort their Fridays on their own.”


The good news in the data is that the shorter workdays aren’t cutting into actual work time. ActivTrak’s data found that workers were putting in eight more productive minutes now than they were in 2021. In addition, more time was being spent on collaborative work. All of it suggests that workers and their employers are finding ways to cut the fat from the workday.


“The much-hyped four-day workweek may never officially become the norm of the corporate world,” writes Fuhrmans. “But shorter, lighter Fridays appear to be how many people are creating a modified version organically.”


Long-term, ActivTrak sees this as a positive trend. “There are positive signals in this year’s report, with shorter workdays and productivity remaining steady,” says the VP of ActivTrak’s Productivity Lab, Gabriela Mauch. “Burnout is declining, hopefully, because employers are adopting the right initiatives.”


Lies, lies and more lies

When it comes to résumés and salaries, we are smack in the age of the normalization of lying

CANADIANS ARE LIARS, Americans are liars, we’re all liars. At least when it comes to our résumés and salaries, that is.


That’s according to StandOut CV, at least, which recently conducted a study of 2,100 Americans that found that 64 per cent of people cop to lying on their résumé, as well as a recent BonusFinder Canada survey that found that 56 per cent of Canadians were lying about their salaries.


Why all the professional fibs? Two big reasons, suggest the experts: the cost of living and ChatGPT.


“The cost of living is going up, there have been quite a lot of job losses in the last six months and the prevalence of AI now is not only adding to the job losses in some cases, but also making it easier to lie on your résumé,” said Andrew Fennell, director of StandOut CV. “You don’t even have to make the lies up yourself; now you can ask ChatGPT, or a CV builder that has AI built into it, to make this stuff up for you.”


People are lying on résumés about the obvious things. Salary is the most common lie, followed by their skills and previous work experience. Men lie more than women (though it’s only a marginal edge) and young people, especially Gen Z, lie the most ― little surprise given the increased challenge lately in landing entry-level jobs. In Canada, residents of Ottawa are the least truthful when it comes to their salaries, with a whopping 63 per cent of respondents fessing up to fudging their income.


We are, it seems, in a golden age of lying on your résumé, and experts say that conditions in the job market are only likely to perpetuate this trend. “In Canada, the market is becoming much more competitive,” said Bruce Powell, managing partner of IQ Partners, a recruiting firm in Toronto. “The standards for entry into academic programs, the standards for entry into the workforce, depending on the job, is just getting more and more challenging.”


That doesn’t exactly mean it’s something people are getting away with, though. Common though it may be, the consequences are real.


“It regularly results in people losing their jobs when they get found out,” Powell said. “Who knows what else they’re misrepresenting?” 

Terry Talks: Demographics and the war for talent. Its worse than you think

When it comes to talent, we are about to enter the perfect storm, if we haven’t already. The reality is that we are on track for a significant and sustained talent shortage ― more severe than we have seen in recent memory ― and it could have a profound impact on our econom and society. Labour data analysts are warning of a worsening “demographic drought” and if we want to manage it, we’ll have to plan for it. 



The drop to the top

Researchers are sounding the alarm after the percentage of women in the C-suite drops for the first time in years

FOR NEARLY TWO decades, women have been gaining ground in the C-suite, gradually occupying more executive roles and wielding more influence over corporate boards. That trend came to a halt in 2023, though, as women’s representation in senior leadership positions went backwards for the first time since S&P Global Market Intelligence started tracking the data in 2006.


“The growth in women’s representation among senior corporate positions, once a bright spot for gender parity, potentially faces an alarming turning point,” wrote S&P researchers, noting that their representation contracted by 0.4 per cent ― not much, but the first time the number had been in the negative.


“Exponential growth over a decade is showing signs of losing momentum,” the researchers continued. “Growth no longer appears exponential. A waning focus on diversity initiatives suggests a potential inflection point and calls our previous gender parity estimates into question.” The S&P data now suggests that achieving gender parity in the C-suite won’t happen until as late as 2072.


Canadian companies already lag behind other OECD nations, and progress has been slow. A report from Institutional Shareholder Services looked at board seats for women and found that Canadian corporate boards were only 14 per cent female; and that only five per cent of companies have a female CEO. If you look at the CFO role, fewer Canadian companies had female CFOs in 2023 than in 2022.


“What I want to know is, how, after women have spent more than half a century in the workforce, are we not seeing equal opportunity,” wrote Hannah Macready. “I want to know how it’s possible that every time I interview a top executive for an article, they are overwhelmingly male.”


Here in Canada and globally, gender diversity advocates say we’re at a crucial juncture to tackle the problem, and that there’s still time to prevent a blip in the data from becoming a trend. “If we don’t redouble our efforts now,” said Marwa Abdou, research director at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, “our granddaughters will face many of the same challenges experienced by today’s women in business.”


Is TikTok everyone’s career backup plan?

People laid off from sectors like tech, marketing and finance arent waiting for jobs. Instead, theyre carving a new path for themselves through content creation

FOR A GOOD while in 2023, it was hard to go on TikTok and not see evidence of layoffs be they in the form of clandestine recordings of meetings with HR, teary accounts of being let go, or increasingly, content about their job search.


For many of those laid off workers, TikTok was more than just a place to vent after a layoff ― it became a combination of a therapist’s couch, a job coach and for many an entirely new career path, according to a report from the Associated Press out last week.


Laid off workers (especially those in tech), wrote Brooke Schultz, are increasingly weathering their layoffs by “carving a new path for themselves through online content creation, where they can make money from brand deals and advertising by producing social media videos.”


Because of the way data is collected, it’s not easy to get official or accurate numbers, but estimates suggest that the creator economy has absorbed “millions” of workers who have “ditched traditional career paths to work as online creators,” in the last few years. For many, losing their job in a tough job market simply accelerated the transition.


A rocky job market can provide the content, too. In the wake of layoffs, TikTok became a staging ground for all sorts of career guidance ― good and bad ― and a large number of Gen Z users began to use it as a job-hunting tool in and of itself.


Last year, layoff videos were the talk of the app. This year, you’re more likely to see users using it to take viewers along with them on their job search. "Influencers and TikTok stars have become the new role models [to young professionals],” said Ksenia Hubska, data lead at academic aid site EduBirdie, “signaling a shift away from traditional institutions and reflecting a unique perspective on professional development that emphasizes creativity and a desire for freedom in their approach to careers."


For at least some, the transition will be permanent. “Going back to the office every day would be a nonstarter for me,” said TikToker Cynthia Huang Wang, who went full-time after losing her marketing job last year. “I still want to be able to create content, and I think going into the office every single day would really impact that.” 


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