CareerCast.com presented its readers with a survey, in conjunction with the annual Jobs Rated report, asking what quality made a job most desirable. At a time when wage stagnation is a common concern, and upwards of 75% in the American workforce feel stressed out, respondents' most common answer for what constitutes a great job was personal fulfillment.
Now, this concept varies from person-to-person, but one interpretation of personal fulfillment includes being intellectually challenged or stimulated; having a job that allows one the opportunity to be creative.
In 2018, Udemy published a study on workplace distraction. 54% of respondents said that the most effective means for combating distraction on the job was being offered avenues to try new things. Again, this idea falls under the umbrella of creativity. The demands of our jobs oftentimes set an end-goal that becomes the sole motivating factor. Meanwhile, as added workload becomes a more common facet of workers' job-place stress, having to meet those end-goals repeatedly under tight deadlines leaves little room for intellectual curiosity.
Certainly the ability to meet deadlines and reach goals is vital to any career's function. However, emphasis placed solely on this end creates a few new workplace problems. Workers who are not allowed the ability to try new things, or to express their creativity in performing their job, are at risk of burnout. Burnout causes either a decline in productivity, or results in turnover with unhappy employees seeking out more stimulating opportunities elsewhere.
A recurring issue for employers hiring recent college graduates is that they have the hard skills necessary to do a job, but have not been properly trained in soft skills. In December 2018, The Guardian published a report on this new kind of skills gap. Among the soft skills the younger and greater-in-numbers generation coming into the workforce lack is creative thinking.
Creativity has benefit beyond keeping an employee engaged. The chance to approach a task from a different perspective sparks critical thinking skills that can be applied to other projects and tasks further down the road. The end result of a creative endeavor can also produce unexpectedly positive findings. The way to a new service or product was never paved by following the same roadmap over and over again.