A recent study by Qualtrics found that 54% of US workers would take a pay cut—more than half—to they work for a company that shares their values,” and slightly more than that, 56%, would not even entertain a job at a company whose values they disagree with, according to CNBC. Are companies stepping up to meet these expectations?
This study didn’t reveal the gender breakdown of respondents, but this focus on values is a constant refrain I hear from the hundreds of women I’ve interviewed on the Electric Ladies Podcast or for my stories in Forbes or other media. I hear it from men too, more and more.
A new analysis from the BlueGreen Alliance and PERI found that the new deflation law alone creates more than 9 million jobs, so people whose values align with these initiatives will have plenty of new opportunities. Then there are the jobs created by the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Jobs Act as well, and the companies that are expanding their divisions to take advantage of those opportunities.
Values are evident in the way people invest and spend their money, very. For example, ESG investing – i.e. investing driven by environmental and social impact and with a focus on good governance, transparency and diversity – has grown exponentially and, according to a new PwC report, is expected to reach $33.9 trillion dollars by 2026.
“ESG-driven AuM is set to grow at a much faster rate than the AWM (asset and wealth management) market as a whole,” the report said. These investments perform better than others, he found, adding that “the majority of institutional investors, 60%, reported that ESG investing has already led to higher returns compared to non-ESG peers.”
Values also feature prominently in our political discourse, of course, especially during these hugely consequential midterm elections in the US. It is also evident in the turnover at 10 Downing Street in the UK, which heralds their third prime minister in a year.
How one votes is a matter of priorities as well priorities reflect our values. The UK sacked Prime Minister Liz Truss for pushing through dramatic tax cuts that stretched their economy and made inflation far worse and worse than in the US
Whether you prioritize reproductive rights, protecting democracy, tax cuts, more affordable health care, protecting the environment and mitigating climate change, lowering gas and milk prices, supporting the disadvantaged and/or or the embrace of the diverse, multicultural society that breeds innovation and prosperity – or resistance to any or all of these things – is a statement of values. How you vote to fund and deal with any of these things is also a reflection of your values. Not voting says you don’t care.
Iceland’s foreign minister, Thórdis Kulbrún Reykjörd Gylfadóttir, gave an eloquent speech at the Atlantic Council – Iceland Clean Energy summit in September about values: “When things are going well, maybe you don’t have to think so much about values. But when values are tested, you see that everything we do, we do it on a foundation that we love, international law, the rules-based order, human rights… Everything is built on these values that are now under attack.” She was referring in part to the energy, economic and humanitarian crises caused by Russian President Putin’s violent invasion and war in Ukraine, but her statement applies to much of what we face today.
Referring to dependence on fossil fuels, Gylfadóttir added the following, but it still applies to so many choices we face today: “It may be cheaper in the short term, but it’s also a values-based decision to depend on people you can’t to trust and not to trust. And I really hope that this will be a factor that we will not forget.”
We need innovation and new ideas to grow the economy, stabilize inflation, reduce costs, improve efficiency and protect our communities from extreme weather caused by climate change.
How we invest our time – including where we work and the types of jobs we have – as well as where we invest and spend our resources and who and what we vote for reflect what we value.
We all say we want family, friends, stability, prosperity, good health and freedom. It is what we choose that reveals what we truly value.
What we really value is evident in what we really spend money on, where we really spend our time, who we really listen to, and who and what we vote for (and against).
Vote. (here is a non-partisan place to learn how and where to vote)