Jan 22 Future of Work Event

Key Predictions for the Future of Work in 2022 and Beyond

January 27, 2022, 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET


Featured Speakers


McLean Robbins, Vice President,Marketing, MBO Partners


Bob Lucas, Chief Revenue Officer, MBO Partners

Featured Speaker:

John Garvey, Global Financial Services Leader, PwC US

Miles Everson, CEO, MBO Partners


00:00 Introduction of the event and the speakers

00:18 Top changes either inside or outside the workforce that are coming in 2022

05:53 What does business digitalization mean?

17:53 Solutions to workforce scarcity

22:45 How to get through change management

25:38 How remote working is impacting the salary distribution for workers

32:45  Innovations that will not only affect the workforce but also how work gets done

42:29  What does a company’s workforce look like 5-10 years from now? 

49:07 Closing remarks

The workforce landscape is changing. In MBO’s Future of Work series, industry experts discuss how enterprise organizations can advance, outsmart the trends, and adapt to the ever-changing workforce environment.

In this webinar titled, “Key Predictions for the Future of Work in 2022 and Beyond,” John Garvey, Global Financial Services Leader at PwC and Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners discussed topics from “The Great Realization” and the rise of new financial currencies.

This Q&A-style discussion also covered:

  • The key trends impacting the future of work for enterprise leaders in 2022—and beyond
  • Market insights about what businesses must do to stay ahead of the curve
  • Key research from MBO Partners and PwC on the future of work

Are you interested in attending the next webinar in our Future of Work series? View our upcoming events.

[00:00:00] McLean Robbins And for this discussion. Thanks so much.

[00:00:01] Bob Lucas Thank you, McLean, and welcome everyone. Miles, John, good afternoon. Why don't we jump right into it? A little bit and up for you, John and Miles. If you might, what are the top changes that you see coming in 2022 and either the workforce or outside the workforce, you know, more on a global scale? What are those changes you see coming?

[00:00:26] John Garvey Well, I think, Bob, thanks for the question. Hello, everyone. Really happy to be here. And thanks for thanks for inviting me, Miles and Bob and team. So maybe, maybe talk a couple of minutes about some of the macro changes and what they mean, perhaps for the workforce, because I think it's probably most apropos for this discussion. You know, what we're seeing is the hybrid model, which is because of the pandemic. And then the pandemic is kind of unleashed the great. Some people call it 'resignation'. Some people call it something else, but basically the mobility of talent, because of a combination of the pandemic, hybrid working, et cetera, we're seeing some really incredibly interesting things. I was on with a client the other day in South Africa who is telling me that a German and a UK company competitor had swiped away some of his actuarial talent. And that's nothing new, except in the past. Those people would have to move to Germany or the U.K. Now they're staying in South Africa, and they can still live next to their grandparents, and they don't have to get up and move their family. So now, he is asking me about which markets he should go, thinking about India, Bangladesh and some other lower cost markets to try to get a competitive talent. So it's really this kind of mobility of talent and the use of hybrid working to drive cross-border acquisitions and use of talent is really something we're seeing just accelerating. And I think a lot of people were questioning, 'Okay, when we go back to the office, you know, how much is this going to change? How much, you know, will? Was this just part of the pandemic or not?' And I think we're starting to see that this is really something that's permanent, at least partially in the workforce. That's maybe one thing.

[00:02:32] Miles Everson Hey, John, if I can just take a minute for a second. I think one of the derivatives of what John is talking about is we're seeing it in certain white collar job classes, which is there's a normalization of global wage scales. And now, I'm not suggesting that it's going to be an equilibrium anytime soon. But if you can get the best worker in a particular skill class and Locast Cross country, you give them a little bit more. They'll work for that remote location, and the consequences are puts downward pressure on the higher price market. And we're seeing that today, it's probably most prevalent in those lower priced markets where they're having a hard time getting the best talent to work domestically for them because offshore wage pricing is coming into the market.

[00:03:21] John Garvey Yeah, Miles. And it's the other thing is that to attract the talent, it's also the quality of the work, right? Particularly when you talk about something like software engineering. You know, I was in Eastern Europe last week. There were seven firms, as I think I mentioned to you before. And what was super exciting about what we talked about was giving all of these talented engineers access to the top thousand companies in the world, for example, that PWC deals with. And that's what they were in the most interested in because they feel that things like that give them a leg up on acquiring talent in their market versus other people that are trying to hire or engage those engineers.

[00:04:06] Miles Everson Makes complete sense to me that we're seeing it across the portfolio, frankly.

[00:04:10] John Garvey Yeah, and maybe also talk a little bit about, you know, we're in a very interesting time in terms of there are three or four things that appear to be happening that are really driving the demand for talent. In a way that I don't think I've ever seen in my career. Excuse me, my life seems to be playing a little trick on me here. Thank you. So, the energy saving lights automatically go right. So I'm not using my hands enough. I'll do that. But you know, we see first of all, the private markets are creating scale companies very quickly that have a huge demand for talent. And then our traditional clients are in a massive replatforming and digitization effort. So all of this is driving an incredible kind of demand for talent, particularly whether it's software engineers or its project managers or people that have particular knowledge of particular areas. But it's not just technology, it's also the marketing people, the sales people, the risk people, and the compliance people. So it's an incredible time in terms of the demand for talent. And you know, we've been talking about the war for talent for frankly, ten years, you know, since the financial crisis. But this is like a nuclear war for talent. I mean, it's just incredible so we can go on. But maybe I'll just let Miles comment.

[00:05:49] Miles Everson Well, yeah, to just jump on that for a second. You said a lot of your clients are working on digitization. Right. And so I think what often comes immediately to mind for at least for workers is what digitization that sounds like, you're going to eliminate my job. And so we're going to have all these people that don't have any jobs to do. We don't have that problem today. We have a human scarcity issue, not excess human worker problem. And that's not just United States, it's global. And I think that if you dial back four or five years ago, everyone was concerned about too many people for jobs that would be available. You sit back today, United States, we got over 11 million job openings and we're at three point nine percent unemployment.

[00:06:33] John Garvey In the middle of a pandemic.

[00:06:35] Miles Everson Right. And so it's very interesting that the problem is different than what people were predicting only a few years ago.

[00:06:42] John Garvey Well, Miles, you and I have talked about this before. Like I always tell people, when I saw some of these reports, you know, A.I. was going to cut employment and things like that. You know, I always say to people, 'Yeah, I guess at the turn of the century, the blacksmith shops were really worried when the automobile was introduced. They were worried about what's going to happen to their farms and their businesses.' And that's a legitimate thing. But what they couldn't see was all the things that were created by, you know, highways and infrastructure and electronics and all those things. So we're witnessing this now. There are jobs now that just never, you know, everything from a Starbucks barista, which 15 years ago, no one knew what that was to a cloud architect, right? These things you can never see, it's very hard to see the new things that get created. But time and time again, you know, and people focus on the jobs that will be destroyed, which means, frankly, that there's a premium on retraining and getting people skilled in the new world, in the digital world and making sure they have the skills to be successful and go after those jobs, right, Miles, that you mentioned?

[00:08:03] Miles Everson Yeah, I mean, John, you brought up the great resignation, right? I mean, that obviously is a very accepted term and framing of the condition that we have today. But, I mean, we see it differently. I certainly do. Which is, I think, a great realization that's happening. And what I mean by that is the individual workers are now realizing that they have more choice than what they may have had in the past. So just again, some context in the United States in 1980, 60 percent of the private workforce get a defined benefit retirement plan. Today, it's three percent. So that bond of 'the employer is going to look after me, they're going to be there for me in retirement,' all that's broken. And it's been broken over the last several decades, and you combine that with the innovations in technology. And it's this convergence of technology that makes it possible to work remotely, like the pandemic would have been different. And by the way, it was different. 12, 15 years ago. But innovations in technology made it possible for people to turn on a dime and work from home. And so, I see what's happening being very different and we're seeing it. You know, the Bureau of Labor Statistics think it was in fourth quarter came out and said that if you're forty five in the United States, you'll change jobs or companies every four years. And if you're under 35, you'll change every 3.1 years. Again, that's a complete inversion of what only a couple of decades was. If you change jobs every three years ago in the 1980s, people would have said, you can't keep a job. Today, if you stay at a company for 15 years, they say, 'Well, why are you staying at one company? You must not be able to demonstrate your worth to somebody else.' So, the workforce has been rocked in these trends. Well, preceded this pandemic, but I think people are realizing is I now have a choice. I can go create multiple streams of income. And even if I don't want to be an independent, I'm not going to stay at one place and work for one company, one manager for 10 years. It's just very different, you know, we do this annual state of independence kind of barometer of the U.S. market. So from 20 to 21, the number of independents grew by 34 percent in the United States, people that were doing some form of independent work. Sixty eight percent of that growth was millennials and Gen Z, so people at the front end of the career funnel are now creating their own businesses. Instead of independence used to largely be people that had had a two or three or four decade career, and then they consulted on the back. And that's just changing. So when I think about what the implication is for how you stand up and operate a business in your workforce, i.e. my most important asset is my talent is what most people would tell you. Your definition of talent has to be much greater than it was only a decade ago. It's got to include other than full time workers.

[00:11:29] John Garvey Well, look, I mean, you can see it in the economic performance, and I do a lot of work in outside of the U.S. as well as in the U.S., as you know, Miles.

[00:11:38] Miles Everson Yes.

[00:11:38] John Garvey And, you know, just take in financial services where I work. You know, one of the big things people are talking about is why is the U.S. banking sector more, you know, powerful or stronger than the European banking sector? And frankly, you know, there's a lot of its scale and its culture. And frankly the biggest reason is labor law, in my view, right? So there's very little flexibility that to right size your labor force, particularly in a market where you need to consolidate and digitize, you know, in Europe. So, the U.S. banks were able to make acquisitions and absorb the right size of their labor force because the market here is much more flexible. You know, in Japan, lifetime employment. In Europe, super expensive. U.K. is a little bit in between, but the rest of continental Europe. So this labor flexibility is a trend we see around the world and people are reacting differently. But a lot of the way the people are doing it is hiring more independence, Miles, because if you make someone a permanent employee, it's very hard to change that. I tell people like this dynamic and flexible labor model is actually the key to the success of enterprises. It's fundamental. And look, I know all the studies you've done around. The unicorns and how they're leveraging talent, and it's really interesting, like look at our fintech clients versus our traditional clients and how they use talent. It's very different so far, and the fintechs are using a much more flexible model for talent in general, and the established firms are kind of catching up.

[00:13:36] Miles Everson Yeah, I mean, I think I've shown this for sure. The studies with you where there's correlation between market capitalization of firms and the number of independent workers they have, and it happens to be that many of those are asset light firms as well. So it's tech firms, it's pharma firms. They have a higher relative share of independents because they're used to operating in that way. And I'm not suggesting it's cause and effect. But just the way you think about your business model and how you operate is very different. You know, I on that now that we've touched on that. I mean, Mike, I think we're going to when I put my crystal ball on here beyond twenty two, we're going to see an increasing movement towards. More agile squad project and  outcome based project teams have assembled quickly attack a problem or an opportunity. So I refer to it as we're moving from operating models that are chart driven by role to outcome driven by squads of people, and you won't retain all those people full time. They might be full time for a while. They might be independent, but want much, much more flexibility in that workforce.

[00:14:49] John Garvey Yeah, you don't want to, and they don't want to write, frankly. So I couldn't agree more. And that's frankly, that's why a lot of people are coming to us to either one help to manage that change or to supply people because we work temporarily. We have very defined objectives. We work together with the client. And then when it's done, we move on and do the next thing. And you're right, because, if someone's an expert in a particular area, they want to keep working on those kinds of things they don't like. A lot of them don't want to go to a business as usual kind of situation that's kind of boring to them and not challenging. So it's really very, very interesting and look, a strategic thing for the US. The other thing is, I think there's a realization. I hope that we have to keep doing these kinds of things to get our labor force participation higher. Our labor force participation is very low, relative to history. And that's not just because of the pandemic, it's because some people got a lot of education and a lot of talented people that would work in a flexible model, not a full time model. And we still haven't done all the things we can. I think to access that talent, we're trying to do the same thing here at BWC. We had people that leave us and they take family breaks or whatever. And, you know, we'd love to have them full time. But they're also super well-trained and valuable, and to the extent that we can leverage them even part time, it's a huge benefit for us.

[00:16:30] Miles Everson Last month, fifty thousand Americans applied for new business applications just in the world of professional services. It was 500000 overall, and it used to tick along for about six years. It was about 300000 a month. And then in mid-2020, it jumped up 66 percent to 500. And like I said last month, it was 50000 in professional services. One and effectively what that is that individuals that are saying, I want to be a solo entrepreneur or independent professional. Maybe that is their only things a lot of people are working full time jobs and also do side jobs. That's happening plenty out there. But the idea that creating multiple income streams for my household is getting more and more commonplace for people.

[00:17:18] John Garvey And a lot of them are trading crypto. I'm kidding. I'm not kidding. I feel like we should let Bob ask us another.

[00:17:25] Miles Everson We've probably missed Bob.

[00:17:29] Bob Lucas I was actually getting some work done over here, but thanks for letting me get back involved now. Guys, look, great conversation. But you know, there's a bunch of folks who joined the call today say, 'Yeah, we get all that,' right? In where there is a talent scarcity and a shortage. And, we're having to react and a bunch of different ways. But what do we do? So where do you see, you know, what are some of the solutions that you've seen in the market? And John, you wrote a great study in 2021 about the productivity gains by using independent talent and what that afforded a company so beyond just the productivity gains. How does that then tied back into? Is this another way for me to augment, you know, my dwindling permanent workforce? And how do we put that into a package to say, 'OK, this is the future of my workforce moving forward?'

[00:18:27] John Garvey Yeah. So it's a great question, Bob. I would break it down into two. And if you know those of you, please feel free. We can, I guess, put a link to the 2021 productivity report. So thanks for the plug, Bob. I appreciate that. But two things, like number one was the ability to get the right talent at the right time and again, this is a plug for MBO, but PWC is a massive user of MBO's platform, as are a number of my clients. So we use it to access talent on demand and given the scale of the platform, we can generally find the kind of people that we need to supplement our existing teams. And that could be a specialist skill that maybe, we don't want to have this kind of person full time, but we need them for certain kinds of projects which come up from time to time. Otherwise, it's a question of 'hey, it might be a location thing, it might be a scale thing and might be there are a number of reasons,' but our clients are doing the same thing right there. They're working with partners to access talent. I mean, the whole business of sourcing and accessing talent. The other thing I'd say, Bob is looking beyond the borders, which we talked about before. So in new places like I mentioned, I was in Eastern Europe. I was actually in Southeastern Europe and I was visiting companies from Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia, and Serbia. These are places that, you know, two years ago, most people wouldn't even think about. Maybe some, but, maybe just starting to think about Poland or Czech Republic. So you got to go to new talent sources and frankly, these companies are telling me they're now going to Turkey and Egypt and parts of Africa to get talent. So I think you got to really kind of go beyond the borders, maybe even a little bit go beyond your comfort zone. And then I'd say the third thing is, you know, you've got to have leverage and it's in the report. Crowd sourcing of information, right? So there are a number of platforms. I think MBO has one as well where they let the crowd help you solve problem. You know, there's a famous book out on the platform economy, which is a great book. But one of the examples in there goes through a major insurance company. I won't say its name on live here, but it's in the book and they hit it there. Their modeling team against the crowd in terms of revising their actuarial models around certain insurance products. And basically, the crowd beat their team every time, to the point where they reduced their team permanently and they used the crowd as a matter, of course. They kind of did this as an experiment. So this is, I'd say, using the crowd. And when I talk to my clients, it's called the platform economy, which is the name of the book. When all these links get sent out, I'll make sure that Miles' team that McLain has the proper title. But you know, it's using the crowd and this is like in its infancy with our clients. Just in its infancy, people are worried about security, confidentiality, and things like that. But the reality is those problems have been really solved. And in fact, many of the contractors in independence they use, it can employ some of the same techniques from a confidentiality perspective. So, Bob, those are just a couple of thoughts I would share.

[00:22:23] Bob Lucas Great, yeah, Miles, if I may, I'd like to follow up on that with a question directly towards you. You've been in MBO a couple of years now and you've spoken to a number of our clients and prospects as well. And we've talked about this and we've talked about, you know, scarcity and how things are changing. But the one thing we hear over and over is, well, how do I get through the change management? So can you touch a little bit, you know, upon while this stuff is out there, we see clients that are just afraid to act and afraid to move, and they get paralyzed almost because it's, it's too big. Can you share a little bit about, you know, what we can share with the audience and how to, you know, look at things differently?

[00:23:05] Miles Everson Yeah, look, I.. It's kind of human nature that uncertainty and change is often very uncomfortable for people, right? But we've been through various cycles, whether it was the first time people started using even desktop applications to do tasks like Excel and Word, you know Word, Microsoft, perfect if you go way back was going to eliminate the need for people, you know, for EA's etc. And so when we started doing a lot of offshoring, there was uncomfortableness about I can't offshore. You know, Bob, you should, you should offshore some of your function, but I can't offshore mine kind of thing. And so it's a change management exercise that isn't, should not be underestimated. It's really important to do the change management. And so it has to do with things like: how do I think about my team because, you know, John, you and I talked for years now, like effectively most companies deployed by name other than hardcore tech and engineering environments are very specialist type skills people deployed by name. They say, I'll have McLain do that. Well why do you want McLain to do that? Well, I'm pretty sure she knew because I know what she's done before. That's different than knowing the exact skill that you want and then you have to be able to say, "Well, how do I quickly?" The companies that are going to win and, I alluded to this earlier, are going to be able to quickly form agile teams of people and get those teams high performing as fast as possible, and that's where the change management has to come in. This is the: I'm not going to run the way I execute everything just by an org chart and command and control. I'm going to operate it in a way that allows people to assemble teams and work more effectively. Much more spread-based type outcomes.

[00:25:06] Miles Everson Hey, I saw a couple of questions come through some on the chat, some on the Q&A.

[00:25:13] McLean Robbins Yeah, we had a couple you, I'm going to prompt you guys through. So Richard has asked a little bit about basically why Amazon and Google are paying so much for software engineers in the United States for what is currently a remote position. So I think what we're trying to get on is why are we paying premium dollar when location no longer matters? Do we want to talk about the geographic impact and how remote work is impacting our distribution for workers, both contract and full time?

[00:25:43] Miles Everson Yeah, look, I can take it because I made the comment about the globalization of normalization of global wage scales, and we are seeing that happen. It's not happening overnight. We're basically 18 to 24 months into the pandemic, and I would submit that the pandemic probably accelerated remote work by a minimum of five years, maybe more in terms of the social acceptance of remote work. And so, think of it, Richard. Richard, I don't know, but I think of it as an open market. And if you're the best at what you do, you can go command that three to four million, that person that's sitting in some other country that hasn't had access to the demand for that three to four million, they're now starting to get at, those barriers are as low as they've ever been to connect demand to supply in the human capital markets. And so that's going to take time, but it's going to push through the system. And you may happen to have the best person sitting in the United States, in Seattle or San Francisco and they'll get paid the big numbers. But it doesn't mean that there's gonna, that the people that are sitting in other locations are going to get ignored and they're going to start. The other thing to keep in mind if it's one hundred dollars an hour, and I'm using that for simplicity of math, in the United States, and it's 20 dollars in another country. A 10 percent increase in the other countries, a 50 percent increase in their wage, and it's only a 10 percent decrease in the United States. And so when you start thinking about this normalization, it's going to take some time to flush through. But we could, we're definitely seeing those trends happen.

[00:27:19] John Garvey Yeah, I mean, I would just add to that point that, you know, Miles made, I mean, there's always going to be a demand for the engineers that are in, is my British friends would say the coalface, with the actual business people and the people creating the platform. So it kind of closer to the customer, closer to the to the business people. That's what a lot of the engineers that are getting hired onshore, whether it's Western Europe or the US or doing not everybody, of course, but you know, it, you know, we're seeing kind of the division of labor in terms of the types of tasks, their complexity, et cetera, is getting much more sophisticated, as Miles said. But, you know, top flight engineers with great experience still command very nice salaries in the US or Germany or wherever. There's also not in the US so much because English is kind of the international language of most of these offshore places. But in certain countries like Germany, Japan and certain clients, the local language skills is a make or break kind of thing. So for example, you go to, you go to Eastern Europe, and a lot of the clients are either other Eastern Europeans or the U.S. or the U.K. or the Netherlands places you know that speak English. If you say, "Hey, can you supply German speakers to go work in Germany?" That's a very, very hard ask even today. So there is a little bit of, you know, it's not all cut and dry, but the trends that Miles are talking about, that Miles was talking about are definitely real and we're seeing them.

[00:29:05] McLean Robbins Great, thanks, John. One more question about your particular PWC plans rather for contingent versus salaried workers. Cause PwC articulated a mix of contingent versus salaried workers and what is the impact on the partnership model?

[00:29:22] John Garvey Yeah, and I also saw a question, by the way, McLain on mental health.

[00:29:25] McLean Robbins Yeah, I thought I wanted to get to that one next.

[00:29:28] John Garvey I can kind of dovetail that a little bit as well. So look, I don't have the numbers as to the exact mix in front of us, but you know, the US firm is is more advanced than the rest of the network in terms of use of gig economy talent, if you will. Though we use contractors around the world. We're trying, we're changing that. So we're using more and more gig people directly. In fact, we're working closely with Miles and his team to help us implement that in different places around the world. But I think, you know, realistically on a go forward basis to provide all of the people, locations, price points, talent, you know, skills, we have to incorporate more and more of the gig economy, particularly as more and more people move to that part of the economy, right? You have two things happening, right? One, we're using it more to more of the people are moving into that area, right? So into in terms of wanting to work for full time PwC versus wanting to be a gig, you know, person on our talent platform. So, you know, I think in the US, it's probably 10, 15 percent, something like that now is gig, much lower than the rest of the world. But I think that numbers continue to tick up bit by bit. Our business is also growing overall as well. So it's helping us fuel the growth in a tough talent market. But, you know, we find that sometimes, you know, people we work with on the gig side, they want to come and work for the firm and we want them permanently. Sometimes it goes the other way. Someone who resigns from the firm wants to do a couple of different things, but we can keep them in our independent talent exchange. So it's a very important part of our strategy and it's critical for us to be able to deliver large transformations, particularly cross-border in a competitive market with other providers.

[00:31:37] John Garvey The mental health thing, if I could just kind of add there, we're really focused on this and actually focused on this with our clients as well, helping them. A number of the productivity tools that actually we offer to our client, some of them include the ability to kind of check in and monitor not on a Big Brother Big Sister way, but in a helpful way, kind of the mood and disposition and, you know, mental health of the people working there. And in fact, we did a large trial and that we're rolling out in the U.K. of the same people that help Formula One drivers and other sports people improve their performance. We actually equip people with Fitbits and a number of other tools to actually monitor during the pandemic. You know, different signs of mental health, exercise, eating things like that. People volunteered for the trial, and we learned quite a bit about how to help promote, you know, mental health, putting boundaries in terms of work hours, you know, which is harder to do when people are working at home, giving people more flexibility when we're, you know, executing our return to office strategy. So, so a lot of mental health is that is a big part of that. And frankly, now I've been I was in Manhattan having dinner with some people last night, just checking in on people and doing things that you could normally do in the office, but you now have to really plan and having a number of dinners or touch bases, in-person lunches or coffee with people. And you really have to kind of factor it in if you're managing people into, you know, your day-to-day routine because it would occur more naturally before it doesn't occur, you have to kind of make it occur. So and we're as a firm, not just me, but you know, this is a big focus for our partners in our leadership team in terms of what it means a partner culture it really just means our partners have to get better and they are at working with our employees, partners, and also people who are members of the gig economy. So Miles?

[00:34:02] Miles Everson Yeah, I maybe had a few points without trying to be redundant, right with what you were saying, John. The first is when you deliberately have a workforce strategy that you make the independence actually part of you, it's a strategy, not just a transaction. Then you can meet the worker where they want to be at whatever season in life they are. And so if they decide that they don't want to work full time and they want to be independent, they can go ahead and be independent for a while. They might come back five years later and say they want to be full-time. So the balance of power has shifted and it should continue to shift towards the worker. And so the company, just like great service people that you've got to meet the talent where they're at and help them feel fulfilled. And part of that is leading in to the work style and arrangement that they have with you. And on the fulfillment point, I, you know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I think working remote, what's happened is people get up in the morning, they go to their home office or their kitchen table. And they're busy, it is busy they're doing and they're going from meeting to meeting and meeting busy. They get to the end of the day. They go to bed and they get up, they'd do the same thing again. And so one of the things that we're doing within MBO for our full-time employees is bringing much more focus to what are the actual outcomes we're producing. And then start to celebrate those outcomes. So you feel a sense of accomplishment that you're not just busy doing stuff, you're doing it for a reason, for a purpose that's advancing what we're doing. So you feel like you've accomplished something and accomplishment and recognition for that accomplishment contributes to well-being. And I think that that's a really important component of what's happening in remote work. People are just busy and they don't, they don't really know if they're accomplishing anything. And it's not fulfilling. And so that's a big piece. And then Bob posted the question on again in our state of independence work that we do. What we know is it's over two-thirds, some it's over three-quarters, that's over two-thirds of independents in all cases say that as an independent, they believe that they are happier. They believe they are healthier and they believe that they're more financially secure than when they were a full-time employee. And so I step back and say, well, who in the world doesn't want to be happier, healthier, and wealthier? I mean like who doesn't want that? Now those are independents that have figured out how to make that lifestyle work style work. But there's a place for it. Kind of my point. And once you figure out how to get that working people are glad that they made the choice, it's the change that is difficult. And I don't think it's an either or. I'm full time employee. I'm not an anti-employee. What I'm for is giving the worker and the human and the family member a choice to work the way they want to work, instead of assuming that everyone has to fit into some regulatory regime in the way that they make their livelihood.

[00:37:20] Bob Lucas So we touched a little bit on, you know, the remote workforce and how folks are just able because of technology to work from anywhere. What are some of the innovations that you guys both see coming that will not only affect the workforce, but how work gets done in the coming years?

[00:37:39] John Garvey Well, you probably have seen, you know, an increasing kind of I don't know if you're on social media or you're just kind of researching into it about the Metaverse and what's happening with the Metaverse. So I would say, and I have to admit, I was a little skeptical when I first started kind of exploring it.

[00:38:03] Miles Everson I can only imagine.

[00:38:07] John Garvey Yeah, I generally start off skeptical on everything, and that's just Miles knows me well, it's just my personality. But you know, the ability to interact and to simulate kind of real world interactions through the metaverse is something that will continue to get better and better and better, right, with technology. So instead of staring in a video screen, you know, we might meet in a virtual meeting where after this Miles and I can go shake a bunch of virtual hands and have a one-on-one conversation with people. So. So, you know, imagine applying that to work and what you're able to do with meetings and things like that. So it kind of makes our 2D world here today, though it's visual and better than it was before 3D. And also, you know, whether you use avatars or photos or cameras or whatever. But the Metaverse, I think, is something that's coming probably faster than people realize, faster than 5G, by the way. It's never seen. But yeah, that's...

[00:39:25] Miles Everson  Let me just take on to that and I don't know if I'm plain mad] or if you can find it. But last weekend, I think it came out over the holidays. There is a podcast with Gary Vee and Mark Zuckerberg and they talked about Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. And so these are my opinions, but I thought it resonated with me when I heard it, which is the Metaverse is going to allow us to deliver virtual reality much more effectively between now and the next five years. And then five to seven years, we'll start to see augmented reality really start to get mass adoption, so mass adoption means 25 percent of the US market would be using it or whatever market you're targeting. And the point that they were making in that discussion was when you get to augmented reality, in the Metaverse, and your hologram shakes a hand with somebody else's, you're going to feel the pressure of the handshake. So it's going to feel very real, there are probably people on this that are much more technologically advanced than I am, but when you start to layout, you say, well, how is it's not just how work is going to get done, it's how is life going to get done and then work inside the context of that? Right? Because arguably even with the internet and social platforms, it was consumerized well before it was driven into businesses in a B2B market. And we're going to see this. I would say we're going to see the same thing here where we see it, like Oculus and Quest 2, it's much more of a B2C play than it is a B2B. But it's moving into the business to business player as we speak.

[00:41:01] John Garvey Well, this I mean, there are already platforms that do a little bit of what I said before in a very crude way for conferences like I attended a couple virtual conferences where you could walk through and you could meet people and you could say hello. And you know, it was very, very crude, right? But that principle is already up and running, right? So it's just a question of how the technology will improve it and make it more realistic and wearing pressure gloves, and you know, a, you know, a VR headset or whatever it is.

[00:41:40] Miles Everson Should we do another checkpoint on questions? Maybe there are no more, but we should ask.

[00:41:45] McLean Robbins We are getting caught up on questions. So I'm going to turn this one back to Bob for some additional topics.

[00:41:52] Bob Lucas Yeah, I just want to get back to the workforce. We have a few minutes left here. And I know that and I touched upon this a little bit earlier, but that every company is in trying to continue their growth right and deliver to their clients, to their shareholders, whatever, they not only worry about this talent scarcity or how more and more people are becoming independent today. But what is five years from now looks like or 10 years from now. So, Miles, you had some statistics about how, you know, the growth of independents blossomed last year. What do you guys see in the future? You know, is it, are we going to get to a point where companies are less than half full-time employees and the majority of their workforce is a flexible global workforce? Or do we still think that companies are going to have a bedrock of the majority of their workers are going to be full-time workers and they'll use, you know, independence to augment that, that workforce?

[00:42:59] Miles Everson If I can take the first crack, if you want to chime in, then. So the first thing I would say, Bob, and we didn't get to it yet, so I'm going to make the point now. I think it's really important when we're talking about the independent workforce to differentiate between the educated independent workforce and the less educated independent workforce. Okay, because what you see is political regulation, pressuring workers rights, et cetera, which I feel we get and understand when you're talking about the less educated so you don't allow for the big guy to pick on the little guy kind of scenario, I get that. But when you're talking about educated people that decide that what they want to do is work as independents and be entrepreneurs. I mean, it's the small company and entrepreneurs that drove the lifeblood of this country since World War Two. And so the idea that you would regulate that model out of our economy is a huge mistake. And so I believe that you're going to continue to see people choosing to want to effectively have their own autonomy. Well, there's one thing we didn't talk about that will bring up. I talk about the fractionalization all the time. The same thing is happening with trust, nobody bleeds for trust central authorities anymore, like who goes and reads a food critic for a restaurant review. You go to Yelp. And same thing is happening, what I'm saying is people want to take responsibility for themselves and their careers. And so our predictions as McClain knows and I guess you do too, Bob, is that by 2025, we'll see that at least 50 percent of the U.S. workforce either is or has worked as an independent in their career. And today that's about a third. So we see continued growth in that, and again, I don't think it's an "or" I think it's an "and". People will work as independents and they'll work as employees. But companies and individuals need to get much more comfortable and equipped to work with people who maybe are not a full-time employee for the next 30 years, sitting next to.

[00:45:05] John Garvey Yeah. Maybe, Bob, I'll just add to that, I do, you know, firms like ourselves, I believe, will continue to grow even from a permanent employee perspective, because there's always going to be a demand to organize people and drive towards sophisticated outcomes. So it's not about individuals, but it's about teams so that managerial and kind of transformational expertise. We only see the need for that to go up. And that companies increasingly want to buy that as they need it as opposed to having that on the shelf. I even have, you know, some very large clients of my own, which these are big companies. They really don't have the transformation people anymore that they had 10 to 15 years ago. They go project by project and they take the best people to do X or Y or Z, and they go out and get them and they pay, you know, a premium for a period of time and then they move on. And we're seeing so. So I think you're going to see more independence, but you're also going to see more growth in the firms like ourselves because someone has to also take that independent workforce, organize it, integrate it, and drive it towards outcomes that are more than just an individual outcome, but a team-oriented outcome.

[00:46:38] Miles Everson Yeah, look, I mean, we're doing this with other clients, but we're doing this together, which is, you know, where there's growth opportunities. And so you say, I'm going to hire a full-time workforce, but I'm going to put in place talent pools of the types of deep skills that I need to take advantage of that growth opportunity. And you know, if you think you're going to need 100 people, you've got to build a talent pool of five, six, 700 people of independents because they're not just going to sit around waiting for you. And so the talent pool approach and building those pools of people that know you, you know them and creating a knowingness in the independent market makes it a lot better and effective to go use independents successfully as a company.  

[00:47:22] John Garvey We are already seeing, Miles. I mean, you know this very well that some of the independents actually stay working with you longer than employees do.

[00:47:33] Miles Everson Right? Well, think about that three point, three point one years under thirty-five. There are lots of people that are independents that work six months a year for decades for a company.

[00:47:42] John Garvey Yeah, exactly.

[00:47:44] McLean Robbins Hey, guys, we have one more quick question that came in to the chat. Richard asks if you have any thoughts on the Eden McCallum model that converges stopping with that of a consulting firm? If you're familiar with this model.

[00:47:56] John Garvey I'm not.

[00:47:57] Miles Everson Yet. So well, yeah, I'll comment on it, Bob. You may have an opinion on this one, too, but so staffing firms tend to fill a job rack. So it's a description of a role that needs to get done. Consulting firms, real consulting firms, are hired to diagnose, prescribe and solve problems, not just put a human in a seat. And that's the biggest difference. And what I think you're hearing from John and I today is that successful firms are finding that right blended mix of I'm going to go solve the problem for the client that is strategically important, but I don't need to do that with a one size fits all workforce. I can have a flexible workforce and be more effective at that.

[00:48:43] John Garvey Yeah, and those problems are multi-dimensional, right? There's generally a technology component. There may be a risk component and operational component, a regulatory component.

[00:48:57] Miles Everson And management.

[00:48:58] John Garvey Yeah, exactly. So I totally agree.

[00:49:05] McLean Robbins Well, we have reached the end of our time for today in our webcast, but I wanted to thank both John and Miles and of course, Bob for joining us today. We will be back in March with more of our Future of Work series. Thanks so much and stay tuned for those who registered for a video recap here, and it will be live on our website on MBOpartners.com/events. Thanks, everybody and have a great afternoon.

[00:49:30] Miles Everson Thanks everyone for joining.