Marsh & McLennan Advantage Insights logo
Conversations and insights from the edge of global business
Menu Search

Quick Takes

Only Half of Workers Say Their Company Provides a Positive Experience

Source: LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020 Report — Employee Experience

More companies are investing in improving employee experience as competition for talent intensifies in a tight labor market, a new LinkedIn report found. Job titles that include the phrase “employee experience” have more than doubled since 2014, highlighting an industry-wide shift toward providing satisfactory working environments for employees.

The LinkedIn report defines employee experience as “everything an employee observes, feels, and interacts with as a part of their company.” And companies investing in their employee experience are already seeing benefits to their bottom line, including higher productivity and staff retention, as illustrated above.

But there’s still a ways to go. Two-thirds of employees say their companies have improved their experience in the last five years, but only half of them said their experience was positive. A perception of company inaction and lip service to employee feedback and concerns remains prevalent. “Businesses need to put their money where their mouths are,” the report read.

The World Is Bullish on Solar—Can Supply Chains Keep Up?

The world is rapidly adopting solar power — solar energy generation increased 22% between 2020 and 2021. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects that number to jump again this year, as countries that relied on Russian fossil fuels invest more in renewable energy. Government initiatives have also helped grow solar energy, with incentives in Brazil, subsidies in China, and new tax credits in the U.S. promoting growth.

In the U.S., residential solar power installations rose 34% from 2020 to 2021 — though solar power generated only 3% of electricity last year. In Europe, projects in Spain, France, Poland, and Germany accelerated solar adoption. Australia has the highest residential adoption rate of solar power, with 31% of homes using solar energy. China is the largest contributor of solar capacity, with 31% of the world’s capacity, most of it due to large solar farms. 

Solar power costs rose last year as COVID-19 supply chain disruptions have raised the cost of solar panel production and installation. In 2021, prices rose as much as 18% in some areas of the solar industry. Despite rising costs, the IEA predicts that solar power will retain or increase its cost advantage compared to other renewable energy sources, like onshore wind farms, over the next two years.

Majority of British Say Sunak Should Call Early Election

According to a new survey by YouGov, more than half of British adults think that new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should call an early general election, rather than waiting until one is legally required. The poll, sampling opinions of 2,398 adults, shows near unanimous majorities in favor of calling an election across region and gender. The only surveyed demographic that did not fully align was age: 60% of those aged 18-24 and 66% of those aged 25-49 preferred calls for an early election; 50% of adults over 65 disagreed.

According to a new survey by YouGov, more than half of British adults think that new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should call an early general election, rather than waiting until one is legally required. The poll, sampling opinions of 2,398 adults, shows near unanimous majorities in favor of calling an election across region and gender. The only surveyed demographic that did not fully align was age: 60% of those aged 18-24 and 66% of those aged 25-49 preferred calls for an early election; 50% of adults over 65 disagreed.

In his first public remarks as prime minister, Sunak reiterated that he would focus on stability and unity for the country. However, the BBC reports that the new prime minister told his party’s ministers behind closed doors that he had “ruled out” calling for an early general election, despite strong demands from the opposition Labour Party. 

The next general election must be called by January 2025 as the last one was held in ​​2019, which Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party won in a landslide, garnering the greatest share of popular vote of any party in a general election since 1979. Current polling shows that has flipped — some polls now show the largest public preference for Labour in a quarter-century.

Incentives and Imperatives Fuel a ‘White Gold Rush’ in Lithium Mining

A combination of energy shortages, new electric vehicle incentives and action toward governmental climate adaptation goals has created a “white gold rush” for lithium. Global mining efforts for the metal have tripled since 2015 as global demand is expected to rise to three to four million metric tons by 2030.

A combination of energy shortages, new electric vehicle incentives and action toward governmental climate adaptation goals has created a “white gold rush” for lithium. Global mining efforts for the metal have tripled since 2015 as global demand is expected to rise to three to four million metric tons by 2030.

Currently, only five countries — Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia and China — are responsible for nine-tenths of the world’s extraction of lithium. However, more nations and coalitions are aiming to hop on the train in order to meet the increasing need for the alkali metal, particularly in Europe. Businesses in Portugal, Germany, Austria and Finland are increasingly investing in conventional extraction operations, while France is touting the innovation of “green lithium,” which is produced from geothermal sources.

The expansion of lithium mining is critical for both the expanded production and controlled pricing of batteries in more sustainable consumer products. The cost of lithium-ion batteries dropped 88% over the past decade, though experts fear that shortages of raw materials could cause costs to spike over 20% in the next few years.

Surprising ‘Baby Bump’ Boosts Hope of Fertility Rate Improvement

Chart showing fertility rates

Source: NBER

Despite strong predictions that the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to a “baby bust,” new data demonstrates a more optimistic outlook. A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research notes that an increase in births in 2021 represents “the first major reversal in declining U.S. fertility rates since 2007.” 

During the first year of the pandemic in 2020, official data showed U.S. births declining by 4%, hitting their lowest level since 1979. Combined with the impact of travel lockdowns on foreign-born mothers — who accounted for 23% of U.S. births in 2019 — researchers anticipated that as many as half a million fewer babies would be born in the U.S. as a result of the pandemic. However, U.S.-born mothers — particularly those aged 25 and younger and college-educated women aged 30-34 — ended up raising the total fertility rate for 2021 by 6.2% over the pre-pandemic trend.

Such findings, while they are focused on the United States, are heartening short-term news for social scientists who have spent most of this year projecting that the global population will peak later this century. A rebound in fertility rates may potentially have a positive effect on connected social metrics such as school enrollment, labor force participation and entitlement viability.

Get ahead in a rapidly changing world. Sign up for our daily newsletter. Subscribe
​​