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In Conversation: An Interview with Kim Lear of Inlay Insights

Kim Lear is a researcher, published writer, and corporate speaker. She is known for her ability to use a mix of data, storytelling, humor, and actionable takeaways to discuss the trends that most impact organizations' bottom line. Kim Lear founded Inlay Insights, a generational research and public speaking firm. On behalf of Inlay Insights, Kim Lear partners with top universities and some of the world's best companies, giving them holistic and actionable perspectives on the new world of work and the needs of consumers today.

Recently, Inlay Insights conducted interviews with individuals who made a job change since the pandemic began. We caught up with Kim to learn more about her work through these interviews.


SG: We’ve all seen a lot of articles talking about ‘The Great Resignation.’ Do you think this name is true to what you’ve heard in interviews?

At this point, I think every name floating around to explain this phenomenon could be true. The Great Reshuffle. The Great Exploration. The name is probably not relevant but yes, a record number of people are leaving their jobs. We see that in labor statistics and it's what we're hearing in our interviews.

SG: Are women sharing similar or dissimilar experiences from their career transition during the pandemic?

Both. Some of the experiences are consistent across genders, races, and ages. People have very low tolerances for toxic work environments, bad managers, stagnated career growth, unfair wages, lack of benefits, etc. Unique to women is the amount of burnout we hear. Domestic inequalities were amplified during the pandemic so many women, specifically mothers or those caring for aging parents, left the workforce as work and caregiving responsibilities became untenable.

SG: Did you come across any stories that surprised you that you didn’t expect to hear about women’s experiences during the pandemic?

Because there has been such a focus on the domestic stress for women during the pandemic, I was really pleasantly surprised to hear so many stories that were really rooted in empowerment and growth. Many women leveraged the salary transparency movement on social media to demand higher salaries and better benefits. Some women left "stable" corporate careers to follow more risky dreams. One interview stands out in my mind. A young woman worked for a very prestigious company for 12 years. She spent time at the beginning of the pandemic saving money and taking screenwriting classes online. She moved to LA just a few weeks ago to chase her dream.

SG: You’ve mentioned you’re interested in the ‘unintentional consequences’ of how the shifts from the pandemic impact society. Can you share more about this?

Oh, man. Where do I start? I think we'll see some unintended consequences around these asynchronous schedules. What happens when many people are on their own schedules or working for companies in different time zones? Where and when does a community grow together? The unintended consequences of school closures will be studied for years to come.

SG: Where will this work take you next?

From our research, we've been able to identify 5 primary reasons why people leave their jobs. We'll be exploring these reasons in more depth and working with organizations as they experiment with new ways of working in order to retain people in this talent-demand economy.

SG: To follow Kim’s work and find out more about Inlay Insights’ work around ‘The Great Resignation, Reshuffle, Exploration” sign-up here.


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