Alison Williams writes on hbr.org that the American Dream is alive and well - just not in America. Thomson Reuters surveyed 1,002 employees across their businesses and called it The Professional Revolution. It shows that
professionals in emerging markets (Brazil, China, India) are more optimistic, competitive, as well as collaborative than their developed-countries (UK, US) counterparts.
Could this indicate the dawning of a new way of doing business, combining people and community-focus with a successful bottom line? How exciting!
Professionals in the UK and US appear to be more cynical, or perhaps disappointed?, than their emerging colleagues. For instance, only 44 % of the former believe that "the business world is mostly or always ethical", compared to 66 % of the latter.
I admit I found this surprising, given the well-known levels of corruption in business and government of these emerging countries. Since these countries may allocate respect and status based on who you are and the position you hold, (rather than what you've achieved), however, bribes may be seen as simple favors between friends.
With books like Lean In enjoying recent commercial success, it may also come as a surprise that only 22 % of women in the UK and US feel optimistic about their careers, compared to 41 % of their Indian, Chinese, and Brazilian sisters. Could it be a factor that the family systems in the latter countries is a lot broader? When more generations as well as relatives are involved in helping to bring up the children, the onus isn't so much on the mother alone or father alone, is it. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents also help out and lighten the load.
The pendulum swings the other way when it comes to work-life balance: 80 % of UK and US professionals believe it is more important to have a reasonable balance between work and personal life, even if it means making career sacrifices. 66 % state they do not check their phones or emails while at home. This is compared to only 65 % of the Brazilian, Chinese, and Indians surveyed who believe in work-life balance, and 42 % who do not check in with work from home.
I found this surprising, because I know many American professionals who work far more than the 40 hours a week they get paid for, and I have received emails with a 3 am timestamp.
But what's most hopeful to me are the results for expected future trends: Let's all make sure that equality and opportunity become a reality.