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‘When Values Are Being Tested’

‘When Values Are Being Tested’

A recent study by Qualtrics found that 54% of U.S. employees would take a pay cut – over half — “to work at a company that shares their values,” and slightly more than that, 56%, won’t even entertain a job at a company whose values they disagree with, according to CNBC. Are companies rising to meet those expectations?

This study did not disclose the gender breakdown of their respondents, but this focus on values is a constant refrain I hear from the hundreds of women I’ve interviewed on Electric Ladies Podcast or for my stories in Forbes or other media. I hear it from men too, more and more.

A new analysis by the BlueGreen Alliance and PERI found that the new Inflation Reduction Act alone with create over 9 million jobs, so people whose values match those initiatives will have plenty of new opportunities. Then there are the jobs being created by the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Jobs Act too, and the corporates that are expanding their divisions to seize these opportunities.

Values are apparent in how people are investing and spending their money, too. For example ESG investing – that is, investing with the lens towards environmental and social impact and focused on good governance, transparency and diversity – has grown exponentially, and, according to a new report from PwC, is expected to reach $33.9 trillion by 2026.

“ESG-oriented AuM is set to grow at a much faster pace than the AWM (asset and wealth management) market as a whole,” the report says. Those investments are performing better than others, it found, adding that “a majority of institutional investors, 60%, reported that ESG investing has already resulted in higher performance yields, compared to non-ESG equivalents.”

Values are also prominently displayed in our political discourse, of course, especially during this hugely consequential midterm election in the U.S. It’s also obvious in the turnover at 10 Downing Street in the United Kingdom, heralding in their third Prime Minister in a year.

How one votes is a matter of priorities, and those priorities are a reflection of our values. The U.K. threw out Prime Minister Liz Truss for pushing dramatic tax cuts that tanked their economy and made inflation much worse, and worse than it is in the U.S.

Whether you prioritize reproductive rights, protecting democracy, tax cuts, making healthcare more affordable, protecting the environment and mitigating climate change, lowering gas and milk prices, supporting those disadvantaged, and/or embracing the diverse, multi-cultural society that breeds innovation and prosperity – or resist any or all of those things – is a values statement. How you vote to fund and address any of those things is also a reflection of your values. Not voting says you don’t care.

The Iceland foreign minister, Thórdis Kulbrún Reykjörd Gylfadóttir, made an eloquent speech at the Atlantic Council – Iceland Clean Energy Summit in September, about values: “When everything is going well, you might not have to think so much about values. But when the values are being tested, you see that everything we do, we do on a foundation that we cherish, of international law, rule-based order, human rights… It’s all built on those values that are now being attacked.” She was referring in part to the energy, economic and humanitarian crises caused by Russian President Putin’s vicious invasion of and war against Ukraine, but her statement applies to so much of what we face today.

Referring to dependence on fossil fuels, Gylfadóttir added the following, but, again it applies to so many more choices we face today: “It might be cheaper in the short term, but it is also a values-based decision to be dependent on people that you can’t trust and you should not trust. And I truly hope that this will be a factor that we won’t forget.”

We need innovation and new ideas to grow the economy, stabilize inflation, lower costs, improve efficiencies and protect our communities from extreme weather events caused by climate change.

How we invest our time – including in where we work and the kind of jobs we have – as well as where we invest and spend our resources and who and what we vote for are reflections of what we value.

We all say we want family, friends, stability, prosperity, good health and freedom. It’s what we choose that reveals what we truly value.

What we truly value is evident in what we actually spend money on, where we actually spend our time, who we actually listen to, and who and what we vote for (and against).

Vote. (here’s a nonpartisan place to find out how and where to vote)

What do you think?

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