The value of an hour of work around the world

The Value of an Hour of Work

The Value of an Hour of Work

Thanks to, here’s an infographic about the value of an hour of work around the world, as measured by the GDP per capita, and divided by the average number of hours worked in that country.

Luxembourg and Norway are the standouts, and the Scandinavian countries in general all doing well.  I’m wondering if any readers have any insights as to what it is about Scandinavia that causes this pattern to emerge?


Career advice for the new economy

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to choose a career.  This list, on the Wall Street Journal Online, tries to magically distil what makes a “best” or “worst” career to just 5 criteria – physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook.

No mention of engagement, satisfaction, the psychological benefit of getting out of bed every morning excited to go to work, or any one of the many factors that really make a great career.  No mention of the opportunity cost and actual costs associated with the years of study required to enter some of these careers, and the life-long financial burden that can impose. No adjustment of salary by average hours worked in these professions to get a true hourly rate. No mention of how little that last point really matters if you love what you do.  It’s also very bad news for my sister, who loves working in the job that she had wanted since she was 10 years old. She shouldn’t love it though – according to the list, her career as a newspaper reporter is the worst possible career ever.  For everyone.  Turns out she, and everybody else, should have become an actuary.  Sadly, some of the young people who really need some good career advice will, after reading this list, write off their passions and spend years of their lives working in a career that’s not suited to them.

But the advice that made me truly sad, was this one advising people choosing a career to not follow their passions.   I’m a big fan of the author, and her Ask a Manager blog is fantastic – but in my opinion, that advice is terrible.  Most of the career advice out there is wrong, and there’s a very real chance that the advice I’m posting today will be too. Continue reading

Gender imbalances in Underemployment, Australia

Relative Underemployment of Females vs Males in Australia by Industry

Relative Underemployment of Females vs Males in Australia by Industry

Underemployment is often referred to as a type of “hidden unemployment” – workers who are being paid for one or more hours in a period are considered “employed”, but the reality is that some of these workers would like to be working more hours.  Doing some analysis on the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s latest underemployment survey yielded an interesting insight… Women are hugely over-represented in underemployment statistics in almost every industry. Continue reading

The Office is Dying, According to Esselte

Tickler file

Tickler file (Photo credit: dahnielson)

To mark the 100-year anniversary of the company, Esselte Corporation teamed up with Futures House Europe, and has this week released a white paper examining the Future of Work.

I was going to put together a more detailed summary about the key points in the paper, but the “key points” ended up being pretty much a copy of the paper itself.  It’s not often that I (or anyone, I suspect) reads a whitepaper and gets excited by it, but truly this is a fantastic resource.  Do yourself a favour and take a read – a link to the press release is below.  In the meantime, here are some “tweet-worthy” sections: Continue reading

Principles, Laws, and Effects at Work



In an earlier post, I wrote about The Peter Principle – the concept that individuals are promoted to their own level of incompetence in an organisation.

Here are some of my other favourite principles, laws, and effects:

Parkinsons Law “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” (tweet this)

Hofstadter’s Law – “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law”. (tweet this)

The Dunning–Kruger effect is the concept that if you’re not very good at something, you’re also not very good at recognising that.  It explains why people who are unskilled in a particular area sometimes rate their own ability higher than more competent people.  (over-confident and under-competent)

Putt’s Law – “Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand”.

The Dilbert Principle (from Dilbert creator Scott Adams) is an adaptation of the Peter Principle – paraphrased, it states that companies tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to management in order to limit the amount of damage they are capable of doing.

Goodhart’s Law – “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”.  (tweet thisThis is something of particular relevance to Workforce Analytics, and something which I spoke about in The False Proxy Trap.

Most people know Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”, but may not know there’s a related law,  Muphry’s Law – “If you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written” (tweet this)

The Pareto Principle is another well-known one, usually referred to at the 80/20 rule – for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes (80% of the revenue from 20% of the clients; 80% of the problems from 20% of the clients – not necessarily the same ones).

Are there any other principles, laws, and effects that should be added to the list?