NewsEconomic slowdown ends 'do nothing' work culture, says expert

Economic slowdown ends 'do nothing' work culture, says expert

Work. A well-known economist claims that the era of "I can do nothing, the boss won't fire me anyway" is ending.
Work. A well-known economist claims that the era of "I can do nothing, the boss won't fire me anyway" is ending.
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ed. KRO

3:54 PM EST, November 26, 2023

Until recently, we were amidst an employees' market. However, with the current economic slowdown and escalating inflation leading to numerous layoffs, a shift is occurring. A renowned economist suggests that the era of "I can do nothing, my boss still won't fire me" may be coming to a close.

This topic is being extensively discussed on, citing comments made by Professor Jeremy Siegel on Siegel, a retired economist from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that the labor market is undergoing significant changes. Amid economic turmoil, the balance of power is shifting.

The "I can do nothing" era nearing its end

Recently, large companies have begun to lay off employees en masse to counter the economic slowdown and rampant global inflation. The revered scientist indicates that this shift has led to a positive outcome. How so? Employees, fearing they might be next on the redundancy list, have started to work more efficiently.

Professor Siegel highlights an increase in productivity, referencing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to their report, productivity increased by 4.7% annually in the third quarter.

"Employees are working harder to avoid being fired. The era of 'I can do nothing, my boss still won't fire me' has come to an end," observes Prof. Jeremy Siegel.

AI likely to boost productivity, but poses risks

"Productivity growth has not stalled. Despite the pandemic, the last quarter's productivity index was one of the highest in the last two decades. This uptick is partly a response to an unanticipated productivity slump in 2022, and I believe this surge could continue," he adds.

Siegel recognizes the development of artificial intelligence as another significant factor impacting workforce efficiency. He predicts that advancements in this field will further bolster the trajectory of productivity growth.

Artificial intelligence can take over repetitive and monotonous tasks from workers. However, its progression (as with automation) poses a risk. Employers may replace some, or all, of their teams with artificial intelligence, illustrated by the Indian company Duukan. As reported on, its CEO recently dismissed 90% of the customer service staff, transferring their responsibilities to AI.

A challenge for Generation Z

This shift could pose a problem for Generation Z workers, who often reject the hustle culture. Preferring a standard eight-hour workday and reluctant to over-exert, they've embraced concepts like "quiet quitting", "bare minimum Monday", "lazy girl job" and the latest trend, "snail girl".

Rather than persuading them to put in more effort, employers can replace them with artificial intelligence where feasible. This trend is already observable. IBM estimates that three-quarters of CEOs are eager to bring in artificial intelligence, citing productivity improvement as the primary reason.

This is why CEO of the Arvind Krishna Corporation announced plans to eliminate nearly 8,000 positions, with their roles to be filled by AI.

Workers expressing concern over artificial intelligence

The rapid development of artificial intelligence is already causing apprehension among workers. According to the "Labor Market Monitor" study by Randstad, 21% of participants expressed serious concerns about AI potentially costing them their jobs. A larger group (49%) claimed not to feel threatened.

The roles feeling most endangered are cashiers and salespeople (31 percent), office workers and administrative staff (24 percent), and unskilled laborers (23 percent) – according to the report.

In terms of industries, the highest level of concern is in the hospitality and gastronomy sectors, followed by the financial and insurance sectors (each at 27 percent), and the trade sector (26 percent). Employees in education feel the most secure, with 59 percent stating that they are not worried about losing their job due to advancements in artificial intelligence.

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