Top reads of 2021

Our year in charts and year in images tease out more on these themes—don’t miss them. The search for sustainable, inclusive growth will continue in 2022, and we’ll continue publishing our insights on how that plays out for business and society. As the year draws to a close, explore some of 2021’s most popular and innovative insights on these themes and more, and thank you for reading along.

2021: The year in charts

Here’s a look back at some of our favorite data visualizations from our Charting the Path to the Next Normal series.

2021: The year in images

The year’s defining moments offer insight into the elements that drive, unite, and inspire us as we face the future.

Top 10 Lists of Most Popular Insights

Special Features

Top reports this year

Our top reports of 2021 dug deeper on the management issues resonating across organizations, from the future of work and tech’s potential to diversity and inclusion matters. To explore our robust library of downloadable signature reports and special collections, visit the McKinsey Download Hub.

The future of work after COVID-19

– The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation, with up to 25 percent more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations.

What matters most? Five priorities for CEOs in the next normal

– How leaders can adapt to a very different future.

Women in the Workplace 2022

– Women leaders are switching jobs at the highest rates we’ve ever seen, and ambitious young women are prepared to do the same. To make meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender equality, companies need to go beyond table stakes. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.

Being transgender at work

– Although corporate America has stepped up its public support of LGBTQ+ rights, it still has a long road ahead to foster a truly inclusive environment for transgender employees.

IoT value set to accelerate through 2030: Where and how to capture it

– New research shows that the Internet of Things offers significant economic value potential, particularly in standardized production settings, but companies must achieve scale to capture it.

McKinsey’s Global Banking Annual Review

– Updated annually, our Global Banking Annual Review offers the best of our research and insights into the global banking industry. Explore the findings from our most recent report and scroll for past years’ reports.

New Series & Experiences


Explore a few of our most visited special collections from 2021, which draw together articles, multimedia, and more to deeply engage on many facets of a single topic.

Sustainable, Inclusive Growth

Explore insights on the new era of growth—one that doesn’t treat growth and positive impact as opposing forces.

McKinsey Themes

Explore essential reading on the topics that matter, from beating burnout to preparing for a digital-centric world.

America 2021

– After 2020 disrupted lives and livelihoods, the country is geared for a reset. In America 2021, leaders, innovators, and changemakers have an opportunity to make a telling difference. Here are the first in a yearlong series of our contributions to the discussion.

The Next Normal: Emerging stronger from the coronavirus pandemic

Explore McKinsey’s curated collection on the business outlook for 2021 and beyond—plus insights about how companies can emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis.

McKinsey on Books

Explore this month’s best-selling business books, prepared exclusively for McKinsey Publishing by NPD, and a collection of books by McKinsey authors on the management issues that matter.

Building Great CEOs

Explore McKinsey’s CEO counseling offerings, as well as our latest insights and learnings for current and future CEOs to unlock heightened performance.

Popular Podcasts this year

In 2021, listeners tuned in for insights focused on building resilience, homing in on talent, and more. Explore some of our most streamed podcasts of 2021, and check out The McKinsey Podcast for even more audio.

Culture in the hybrid workplace

– Hybrid work is happening. Your culture will need to catch up—fast.

From the great attrition to the great adaptation

– To keep top talent in the fold, managers must actively change their leadership styles—focusing less on controls and more on culture and connections.

The vanishing middle manager

– Flatter. Faster. Leaner. The COVID-19 crisis has once again trained a spotlight on the value of middle management. What happens after the pandemic ends?

The search for purpose at work

– Purpose is personal, but companies play a critical role in how we express it.

The boss factor

– How you get along with your manager can shape your health, happiness, and productivity.

The eight trends that will define 2021–and beyond

– Kevin Sneader discusses the new ideas and business models transforming industry landscapes.

Inbox Hits

Whether daily, weekly, or monthly, our free newsletter offerings span functional, industry, and news-based topics—have you signed up? Explore some of our most-read newsletters, and subscribe to stay in the loop.

On Point

Connecting daily news to what it means for your business.


Delivering on diversity, gender equality, and inclusion for our digital age.

Daily Read

An article a day, picked by our editors.

Leading Off

McKinsey’s editors help you get ready to take on the leadership challenges of the coming week, through revealing research, inspiring interviews, and insightful quotations.

The Shortlist

A weekly sampling of need-to-know ideas—and why those matter.

McKinsey Classics

Timeless insights—and why they’re as relevant as ever.

2021 turning point: Reinvention and opportunity in the economy of the future

The pandemic has reset the ways we live, work, and do business, accelerating some long-term shifts and setting new changes in motion. In 2021, the McKinsey Global Institute took stock of how the economy is transforming—and the new opportunities now at hand.

COVID-19: Vaccine advances and takeaways for 2022

With billions of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, the pandemic response has proved what collaborative science can do. But to build on this achievement and help get the virus under control worldwide, more work needs to be done. The following collection below recounts the progress that’s been made in global vaccine development, accessibility, and distribution and what comes next.


McKinsey Global Publishing would like to thank, first and foremost, the many authors of these articles and other insights for their contributions and analysis.

And we want to acknowledge the many direct contributors who offered vital energy and expertise—under extraordinary personal and professional circumstances—to the development, editing, risk review, copyediting, fact checking, data visualization, design, production, and dissemination of all of McKinsey’s content over the past year.

McKinsey Global Publishing


Raju Narisetti

Global Editorial Director

Lucia Rahilly


Julia Arnous, Richard Bucci, Christine Chen, Lang Davison, Tom Fleming, Roberta Fusaro, Eileen Hannigan, Heather Hanselman, Justine Jablonska, Bill Javetski, Arshiya Khullar, Jason Li, Katy McLaughlin, Cait Murphy, Rama Ramaswami, Josh Rosenfield, Astrid Sandoval, David Schwartz, Daniella Seiler, Andrew Simon, Mark Staples, Rick Tetzeli, Barbara Tierney, and Monica Toriello

Audience development & innovation

Nicole Adams, Emily Adeyanju, Mike Borruso, Sean Conrad, Zachary Enco, Megan Fierro, Torea Frey, Mary Halpin, Matt Jennings, Mehreen Khan, Eleni Kostopoulos, Laurel Moglen, Najah Mushatt, Babi Oloko, Kareem Parrot, Mythili Sankara, Katherine Tam, Petra Vincent, Bifen Xu, and Joyce Yoo

Copy desk

Vanessa Burke, Heather Byer, Nancy Cohn, Roger Draper, Drew Holzfeind, Julie Macias, LaShon Malone, Merethe Najjar, Pamela Norton, Kanika Punwani, and Sarah Thuerk

Visual storytelling

Vicki Brown, Victor Cuevas, Nicole Esquerre-Thomas, Richard Johnson, Maya Kaplun, Stephen Landau, Janet Michaud, Matthew Perry, Diane Rice, Jonathon Rivait, Amanda Soto, Dan Spector, Angela Walker, Jessica Wang, and Nathan Wilson

Editorial and digital production

Michael Allen, Ankush Arora, Matt Baumer, Elana Brown, Andrew Cha, Ramya D’Rozario, Christopher Friedmann, Paromita Ghosh, Gwyn Herbein, Chris Konnari, Milva Mantilla, Philip Mathew, Katrina Parker, Charmaine Rice, Dana Sand, Brandon Schultz, Katie Shearer, Venetia Simcock, Chandan Srivastava, Sean Stebner, Sneha Vats, Pooja Yadav, and Belinda Yu

Social media/video

Chelsea Bryan, Sheraz Farooqi, Mona Hamouly, Lauren Holmes, Emily Kocoloski, Simon London, Puneet Mishra, Kathleen O’Leary, Christine Roberts, Elizabeth Schaub, and Rita Zonius