The traditional nine-to-five is evolving, with the pandemic triggering a workforce shift.

As work practices adjust to life after COVID-19, it is clear workers are seeking more than just a paycheck from their employers, valuing greater flexibility and purpose-driven roles, aligning with their personal values.*

We delved into the role of passion, purpose and profit and how technology shapes these themes with an expert panel consisting of:

  • Shehara Hapugalle: Senior Client Lead for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Dream Collective
  • Professor Barney Tan: Head of School, Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School
  • Kristen Versitano, Faculty Partner, UNSW Business School

Studies into the nature of post-pandemic work back up what our panel states, LinkedIn Market Research reveals a third of Australians would take a pay cut in exchange for better work/life balance, more enjoyable work or a greater sense of fulfilment.* When looking at sweeping professional trends across the globe in how and why we work, Professor Barney Tan explains, “it’s important to strike the right balance. We all appreciate the convenience of working from home, the flexibility that we got. It’s a pandora’s box that has been opened, there’s no going back.”

“It’s not just about the salary anymore, it’s more about the flexibility and the fulfilment they’re getting from that role."

Shehara Hapugalle
Senior Client Lead for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, The Dream Collective

The Future of Work. What Workers Want: Winning the war for talent shows Australians’ workplace expectations are changing with wellbeing (22%) and experience (16%) being among the top priorities of Australian workers* as they seek passion and purpose in their careers.  What passion means in this context is very clear but Shehara explains purpose as “what your reasoning is to be a part of this organisation." 

The unprecedented experience of a global pandemic drastically altered the values and priorities of not just individuals but also organisations. Social impact theories and frameworks that we use normally in social impact and social entrepreneurship are now flowing into the for-profit sector Shehara shares.

For individuals, determining their purpose is critical in the current landscape. Shehara advises employees to “take a step back and reflect and make sure you find your purpose before you try and align it with someone else's". Purpose can also create community by aligning your purpose with the organisation and that of your team. Purpose also impacts organisations, “It doesn’t have to be all about only social enterprises and environmental sustainability. It is in finance and law, marketing and social media. It’s in every element.”

Purpose is also closely tied to profit. Organisations aligning their purpose will be automatically more profitable because you have your employees who really truly believe in the organisation and that will come through in their engagement with your customers, the way they do innovation of their products Shehara has gleaned from her role working with a range of organisations through change. 

In Barney’s role as Head of School, Information Systems and Technology Management he works closely with technology and how it’s used in industry, especially to increase profit and employee engagement. When it comes to sustainable development goals Barney believes we need to get everyone involved and that technology can play a huge part in this.

“Technology can do many things in terms of making us more efficient and more effective”. The connective potential of technology is immense."

Professor Barney Tan, Head of School - Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School

To be competitive in this new market and add value to organisations a broader range of skills is required, especially an appreciation of what technology can do. “This is something that we at the Business School are very focussed on. Programs centred on how to leverage technology. If you really want to future-proof your career you need to have an appreciation of technology,” Barney points out. 

When offering advice to professionals looking to make the most of the current employment landscape, Barney points out one critical element, “Technology is going to change the world and no matter what career you’re going to get into you need to be equipped with an understanding of how to harness technology. 

Providing advice for professionals who want to pivot from their current role, Barney highlights UNSW’s revitalised Master of Commerce program as “a great offering that will really help you make that pivot.”

*LinkedIn Market Research

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