The workplace has seen seismic changes over the past several years, and the pace of change isn’t likely to slow down any time soon. Employers need to be prepared for even more change ahead. Adapting these workforce trends, or better yet, staying ahead of them, will require adaptable hiring strategists who can envision the future and embrace it.
To help employers navigate the shifting currents, we’ve pinpointed five trends that are likely here to stay. Understanding which recent shifts represent long-term trends in the workplace should help you adapt.
Embracing these five workforce trends and incorporating them into your organization will increase your chances of attracting the best possible candidates in a competitive hiring market where human capital has become a vital component to growing your business:
- Expand remote work options
- Offer ongoing training and upskilling
- Embrace automation while cultivating collaboration
- Use workflow tools and processes
- Prioritize a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion
1. Expand Remote Options to Broaden Your Reach
Employers and job applicants agree that remote work is not just some passing fad, according to Monster’s “Future of Work” report, but is actually one of the most important workforce trends of the 21st century. Analysis of job listings and searches revealed that “remote” and “work from home” were some of the most popular keyword searches conducted by Monster job seekers. Recruitment strategies will need to anticipate this expectation to attract top talent.
Employers forced to quickly ramp up remote work have been pleasantly surprised to find that worker productivity is not negatively affected. As a result, at least 25 percent of workers are expected to work remotely in the near future, with an even greater number working hybrid schedules that include at least some days working off-site. This could lead to radical reductions in office space by as much as 30 percent and parallel savings in rent and other expenses.
If the remote work trend continues at its current trajectory, hiring managers and recruiters will need to expand virtual hiring and onboarding practices. Meanwhile, the success of virtual meetings, client pitches, and conferences may lead to a radical decrease in business travel.
2. Offer Ongoing Training and Upskilling
Even during upticks in unemployment, 80 percent of employers say they cannot find qualified applicants for open positions. Many of these employers expect the skills gap to only get worse as automation reduces the number of manufacturing jobs that require physical and mechanical skills, and jobs that require increased training, education, and complex technical skills increase.
Employers will need to recognize that the workforce will require much more fluidity than it has in the past. Hiring managers will need to embrace workforce trends that focus less on specified skills and more on candidate potential. With workers likely to shift occupations and sectors multiple times across the span of their working lives, hiring managers will have to become more adept at spotting transferrable skills and potential for growth.
Most importantly, employers will need to take on the role of educator, investing in upskilling resources, including self-guided training programs that allow workers to attain the skills needed for each new role as the workplace evolves. Large employers, including Walmart, Amazon, and IBM, are already incorporating retraining and skills building for employees into their business strategies.
3. Embrace Automation and Cultivate Collaboration
Ecommerce has driven a rapid acceleration of the rate at which employers are transitioning to automation and artificial intelligence (AI). As a result, industries like manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping are likely to experience long-term net losses for low-wage jobs for years, even decades, to come. In addition, as remote interfacing and online shopping increase, the need for on-site retail and administrative personnel will also experience dramatic drops.
Workforce trends are already pointing to less reliance on workers with industry-specific technical and mechanical skills. However, the need for employees with critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal, and communication skills will increase. This means the discarded workers of yesterday are in fact a valuable potential resource.
This shift will require recruiters and hiring managers to spot transferrable skills as they evaluate applicants. Employers, in turn, will need to offer higher wages to attract them and upskilling resources to help workers transition and fill the gaps.
4. Improve Your Process With Workflow Tools
Employers once thought advancing technology would lead to a more specialized and siloed workplace. In fact, the opposite is true. Technology has increased collaboration. Much of this is likely due to Agile management, a team-based project management and product development philosophy based on the 2001 Agile Manifesto.
Today, thanks to popular Agile-influenced tools like Scrum, Confluence, and Trello, team-focused, task-centered management dominates workflow. By providing multiple convenient channels for communication, from filesharing and direct messaging, to team chats and video conferencing, popular productivity platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Flock help employees feel engaged, seen, and connected.
Workplace engagement tools also tend to make employees feel more invested in the success of their team, as well as the projects and products they work on. Efficiency tracking tools mean good workers are less likely to be rewarded based on how consistently they show up, and more likely to be recognized for the quantity and quality of the work they contribute to their team’s—and their employer’s—success.
5. Prioritize a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
First, the good news: A growing number of employers recognize the importance of increasing their diversity efforts. The bad news: applicants outpace employers when it comes to how much emphasis should be placed on fostering an inclusive workspace—by a lot.
Surveys have shown that roughly half of employers were working to make recruitment practices more inclusive. In contrast, an overwhelming majority of job seekers stated that a focus on diversity is an important factor when choosing a new employer. A majority even indicated they would turn down an offer from an employer that did not value inclusion.
These numbers are likely to become even more dramatic as the next generation enters the workforce. The most successful employers are likely to be those that understand two key facts about this and other dynamic workforce trends:
- The next wave of entry-level workers will be the most highly educated and technologically skilled the workplace has ever seen.
- New entrants into the job market will be the most culturally and ethnically diverse generation to enter the U.S. job market to date.
Data affirms that the most profitable companies are those with diverse leadership teams. Embracing diversity in practice and communicating your commitment to it as a core value in your branding will help you build a competitive workforce—and grow your bottom line.
Leverage These Workforce Trends and Seize the Future
Knowledge is power when it comes to the hiring strategies you’ll need to make sure your company is keeping up with the trends that will define the future workforce. Monster’s free ebook, Hiring Emerging Talent: Can Gen Z Save The Workforce? can help you get there with expert advice, as well as the latest data and insights from our research into Gen Z job candidates.