Lately, when I speak to students at business schools, I've noticed a clear trend. The students aren't going to recruiting events for big banks or consulting firms because they want jobs there. They're going for the open bar.
If you think this means that they're not serious, or that they're unprofessional, or that they're only driven by shortsighted impulses, I'm here to tell you that it's exactly the opposite. They're at the bar because the recruiting events are showcases for jobs that don't offer anything beyond a salary. They want something more than that, and it's not stock options.
I believe that by 2020, mission-driven for-profits will be the norm. "Doing well while doing good" will be the standard of businesses across the board.
It's already in motion. For years, we've seen a surge in social entrepreneurship and conscious capitalism, signs of a desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. You can see it in the way we do business today, from the problems that social entrepreneurs set out to solve, to the way that companies source, transport and produce their goods.
Today, individual success is defined more by working for a mission than for money. In the past, that kind of motivation might have meant a career path aimed toward the non-profit sector or the arts. But that's changing, and I believe that by 2020, a mission-driven ethos will be a given in the business world.
When you are aligned with working toward your larger mission, the lines between professional and personal blur. For those lucky enough to have the privilege of choosing the nature of their work, the days of struggling to maintain a work-life balance, with the sense that those two realms lie in direct opposition to each other, will be over. The saying "if you do what you love you'll never work a day in your life" will be more true than ever.
The trends are already here. People will strive for a larger purpose in their work as a matter of course, and in turn, demand that purpose from companies. By 2020, people will think of pay in terms that transcend money. They'll think of it in terms of quality of life, building something that matters and leaving behind a legacy.