On Point

Connecting daily news to what it means for your business

The talent market remains in flux. What should you be doing differently?

– With this talent shortage, companies should be thinking about how they can customize propositions that meet the needs of their own workers.

From supply chain disruptions to an energy crisis: The biggest inflection points of 2022

– Looking back, 2022 was another year of upheaval—one of many recently. The changes we’ve seen this year are not garden-variety disruptions.

Becoming a software business is tough. What do successful companies have in common?

– It is hard to become a software company—less than 7% of all software revenue in the world accrues to nontech companies, according to McKinsey analysis of 2019 IDC data.

Where are the emerging opportunities in the space economy?

– In 2021, private-sector funding in space-related companies topped $10 billion—an all-time high and about a tenfold increase over the past decade.

As inflation strains household budgets, how are Americans feeling about the economy?

– Americans are increasingly drawing down savings and running up credit card debt. Twenty-four percent of respondents saw a decrease in their debt payments or savings.

Can Gulf consumer companies stay relevant in a changing retail landscape?

– In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Gulf consumer is emerging, one with shifting financial sentiments and spending habits, find McKinsey partner Abdellah Iftahy and coauthors.

Work disengagement is all too real. What performance management tactics work?

– Every manager needs to have conversations that help put on the table some of the social and emotional issues going on in the workplace and be able to coach somebody through them.

After 30 years of relative calm, is the world at the start of a new era?

– After three decades of relative calm, today’s unnerving events have largely come as surprises: a global pandemic, energy scarcity, rapid inflation, and rising geopolitical tensions.

What are the opportunities and challenges around financing the net-zero transition?

– Cumulative capital spending on physical assets for the net-zero transition would need to change from today’s annual average of $5.7 trillion to an estimated $9.2 trillion through 2050.

Materials are the next net-zero frontier. Which green-materials premiums are emerging?

– Demand for low-carbon steel is expected to surge from around 84 million tons in 2021 to nearly 200 million tons in 2030.

India plays a big role in the fight against climate change. What will it take to decarbonize?

– Electric-charging stations, climate tech start-ups, and corporate India’s focus on sustainability are all signs of activity in India’s clean-energy transition. Investors are increasingly funding companies working in green technologies.

Perplexed by digital twins? Learn what they can do for organizations.

– A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object. Crucially, digital twins are linked with real data sources and can be updated in real time.

Toxic behavior is common at work. What can leaders and employees do to tackle it?

– Around the world, one out of four employees experiences toxic behavior at work, according to a recent MHI report on burnout.

What are the greatest perceived risks to global economic growth?

– Respondents worldwide are generally downbeat about the economy, with those in most regions citing inflation as the main risk to growth in their home economies, according to McKinsey senior partner Sven Smit and colleagues.

US consumers spend billions on wellness. What products do they say they still need?

– The wellness market is growing quickly. Overall, around 50% of US consumers now report wellness as a top priority in their day-to-day lives.

What type of worker are you? Here’s why employers should take note.

– What’s interesting right now is we can’t afford to ignore those who have stepped out of the workforce. Why? Because there are not enough people looking for jobs.

Well-paying jobs, soaring stock prices: Welcome to the ‘titanium economy’

– Unlike other sectors … where companies have a meteoric rise and fall, you don’t have that here, which is a greatness of the industrial sector: it’s very resilient.

What could life be like in the 2030s?

– We’ve asked McKinsey leaders to envision their respective industry’s next decade. Here are some of their more evocative—and provocative—predictions.

How to embrace uncertainty (and even have some fun)

– Humans are wired to fear uncertainty, but it’s helpful to remember that “uncertainty is the portal to possibility.”

In uncertain times, how do you lead with courage?

– What differentiates bold leaders isn’t moving in the right direction, but doing so decisively before others have mustered the collective confidence to commit.

Do you have a side hustle? Unemployment is scarce, while gig work abounds.

– Just over a quarter of respondents say they do independent work because they must. Another quarter say that they do this work because they enjoy it.

What makes you go into the office? Learn how today’s workplaces are changing.

– The future office must be configured in new ways to support diverse, flexible, and tech-enabled workforces.

Which attributes determine how well you perform?

– Attributes, not skills. When faced with stress and uncertainty, who is the “real you” who shows up?

Airlines are struggling to turn a profit, but a few are beating the odds. How do they do it?

– Defying the odds. In every year of its existence, the airline industry has failed to earn its cost of capital. But some carriers have managed to defy the odds to generate consistent value for their shareholders—and are widening their lead over others.

Invisible no more: It’s time to talk about Asian American mental health

– Anti-Asian racism isn’t new in the US, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there’s been a growing amount of violence and hostility against Asian Americans.

What exactly is the metaverse? How leading brands are rewriting the rules of marketing.

– Meta-what? No one can seem to agree on a single definition of what exactly the metaverse is.

What do leading innovators do differently?

– Innovation is critical to growth. But fear can stop experimentation in its tracks, leading to less creativity and less ambitious ideas.

Birth rates are trending down: Is the population in trouble?

– Since 1975, the global population has increased by one billion people every 11 to 12 years, and the planet is now approaching the eight-billion-people mark. What does it mean for this many people to exist?

Dealing with inflation must become a CEO superpower. Here’s how.

– Energy and food costs are skyrocketing, supply chains are constrained, and consumer demand is strong. The upshot? US inflation rocketed to a forty-year high of 8.5% in March from the same month a year prior. Though economists see some encouraging signs that inflation may be peaking, such as a slowing rise in the core price index, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s COVID-19 surge may mean that supply disruptions—and resulting higher prices—endure longer.

Toxic work culture is a leading cause of attrition. How can employers win back their workers?

– Call it what you will—the “Great Resignation” or “Great Disruption”—the fact remains that nearly 69 million people in the US quit their jobs in 2021. A common misconception: better compensation stops worker flight. While pay and benefits are important, two-thirds of employees left their jobs in 2021 for reasons related to engagement and well-being. That means the majority of US workers are quitting because they aren’t happy with their bosses, work cultures, or work–life balance, according to Gallup’s research.

How to handle the jerk at work

– People sometimes believe that remote work protects them from having to deal with obnoxious colleagues. But jerks aren’t going to suddenly stop being jerks just because you’re working from home. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the office or on a video call. Toxic coworkers are going to give their version of events to your boss, in real life, or during an online chat. It’s delusional to think otherwise.

The microchip industry is booming. How big could it be by 2030?

– To counter the global chip shortage, chipmakers have sought to increase production. But a lack of chips is choking off the supply chain itself. For example, the CEO of one large supplier of chip-making equipment has said that his company can’t find enough chips to make its tools, resulting in long lead times. The biggest chip shortages aren’t in cutting-edge semiconductors but in the less sophisticated ones—those used in industrial equipment and cars.

It’s a hard world. Soft skills can help.

– One popular business school course at a leading university is teaching the softer side of leadership, with the key tenet that happy leaders are effective ones. But happiness doesn’t just magically happen. Happiness, students learn, can be cultivated within yourself, and then you can cultivate it within your teams. And that’s especially important when workers are quitting their jobs at a rapid pace, with many organizations rethinking the nature of work with a focus on employee morale and happiness.

Offices aren’t going away—but they’re looking quite different

– While many employees are still working from home, companies are considering what to do with their existing offices. Some are downsizing. Others are redesigning their offices into spaces where employees collaborate and work together, versus perform individual tasks 9-to-5 style. And still other organizations are building new offices, including elaborate showplace headquarters.

Today’s best CEOs lead with empathy and humility

– CEOs losing jobs because of workplace misconduct happens surprisingly often for such a smart cohort. The job itself can enable bad behavior by isolating leaders, who can become entitled, overawed by their own supposed importance, and unwilling to admit mistakes or recognize competition. The word hubris comes to mind.

Performing while transforming: The CEO juggling act

– Over the past few years, C-suite executives and other senior leaders have struggled with the demands of work and family life along with everyone else, and many have joined the ranks of millions who are resigning. In the last quarter of 2021, the number of departing CEOs rose 16% from a year earlier.

Gray hair and don’t care? Unfortunately, hiring managers do.

– For older workers, the hot job market is just lukewarm. Roughly one-third of US job seekers aged 55-plus remained unemployed for at least 27 weeks as of January, compared with about 22% of younger workers. Age discrimination is persistent. Even those who think racism and sexism are unacceptable in the workplace still hold ageist attitudes toward older employees, academic research has found.

Dousing burnout at home and at work

– Forty-two percent of women report being burned out. That is higher than last year and higher than [the percentage of burned-out] men.

Destination: Collaboration

– Most executives say they frequently find themselves spending way too much time on pointless interactions that drain their energy and produce information overload.

Disruption junction

– Gen Zers, ranging from middle-school students to early professionals, are reporting higher rates of anxiety, depression, and distress than any other age group.

Up in the air

– Flying taxis will happen; it’s a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if.’

Bounce back

– Instead of focusing on productivity, focus on purpose, cultivate compassion, and give employees the agency to make decisions.

E-bikes everywhere

– By 2022, global sales of electric two-wheelers and electric three-wheelers could reach $150 billion.

Division in labor

– “Leaders are thinking about what a new culture and a new way of working might look like, and how to perpetuate culture in a primarily hybrid world.”

Take this job and love it

– In an era of workplace upheaval, workers are hungry for trust, social cohesion, and purpose.

A nation on edge

– In a period of continuous corporate change, injecting more civility can help companies navigate the uncertainty and volatility

Start me up

– Charge-point operators need to build a dense, reliable network that provides customers with carefully selected locations in high-traffic areas.

Find meaning

– A purposeful organization can strengthen resilience and deliver value at the same time. Here’s how.

Finding flow

– Companies cannot manufacture the flow state, but they can create an atmosphere that encourages it. When senior executives were at their peak, they reported being five times more productive than they were on average.

More than compliance

– Environmental and social issues are increasingly affecting how companies do business. More companies are starting to make sustainability a strategic and operational priority, but few are structured for success.

Enough already

– Effective meetings begin with a clear goal. For decisions, gather six to eight decision makers and follow an agenda that identifies the choices. Here’s how to decide whether to have it, who comes, and how to make it count.

Camera off

– Up to one-half of American employees worked from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As workplaces figure out which work model—100% in person, 100% remote, or somewhere in between—they’re going to choose after the pandemic, there are lots of issues to navigate.