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Disenfranchised nomads and itchy blue suits

Uncategorized Oct 02, 2023

Wow - already October and after a weekend in China without access to email and social media I feel both behind and sadly aware of my addiction to my email and social media! 

I have a bone to pick about how we let our disdain for people not like us get in the way of better ways to work, organize, be productive and solve problems.

At a recent CEO breakfast on 2024 trends, there was the usual talk about demographics with a call out around immigration as a counterweight to declining fertility and aging in advanced economies. 

Were things becoming more fluid, I asked, with over 75 temporary visas for digital nomads, entrepreneurs and investors? 

The answer, or maybe the tone, surprised me. Though it wasn’t said like this, what I heard was, 

Oh ,those silly millennials with their idealism. Everyone knows they’re just looking for cheap beach huts so that they can live off a few Fiverr jobs and spend the rest of the time eating magic mushrooms.”

I understand that disdain for people who make choices that don't include a room of blue blazers, China coffee cups and Powerpoint, makes our suits feel less itchy.  

What puzzles me is why, despite being surrounded by people bemoaning lack of talent, we don’t remain open to the possibility that new ways of working are possible.

Does this disdain and characterization enable us more room to maneuver or less? 

Does it mean we have more opportunity to get the best talent or less?

I know many people over 45 like a senior risk professional who has moved to Portugal, an ex-Google exec who prefers Spain and the CEO of a major movie studio now based out of Thailand.  

There was mention of wealthy expatriates flocking to Dubai for Golden Visas with a 52% increase in issuance the first half of this year. Most of those folks don’t need to work for anyone.

As the world accelerates, people will, in the next twenty years, be more than ever voting with their feet around where they want to work and live. 

That reality is one that companies will need to prepare for and integrate into their ecosystems or risk not solving the talent problem at all. 

What do you think?



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