Work is experiencing a transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic’s ability to reshape the employment landscape, dominate economic activity and revolutionize the workforce. ADP Research Insitute’s “People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View” report identifies emerging and escalating workforce trends in a global study of workers, as employers adjust their approach to managing amid changing dynamics.
In its annual study, ADPRI’s survey of more than 32,000 workers, including the gig economy, from 17 countries, uncovered the remarkable global consistency of employee sentiment on the transformed workplace, as well as the pandemic’s unique impact on local markets.
In a period of sustained disruption and uncertainty, the findings expose the seismic shift in employee expectations of the workplace as compared to pre-pandemic. The study reveals a new prioritization among employees that extends beyond salary and a few perks to a complete package that aligns with their personal values, redefines what job security means, prioritizes their well-being and encourages flexibility.
These findings, among a list of needs and expectations, can help to guide employers in their approach to delivering on what the workforce deems most important.
Here are some takeaways from the report:
- Workers want change – re-evaluating the importance of job security and business ethics. COVID-19 triggered a re-evaluation of what job security means to workers. Many want more from their employers. Workers are evaluating personal wellbeing and life outside work. They are seeking greater remote work options, are increasingly interested in a company’s ethics and values – and are ready to go elsewhere if they don’t align with their own.
- Pay equity is important – 76 percent would consider looking for a new job if they discovered their company had an unfair gender pay gap or no diversity and inclusion policy.
- Job satisfaction and outlook – employees have high expectations. Optimism for the outlook of the workplace, though slightly below pre-pandemic levels, is robust with workers upbeat on their thoughts toward work.
- Workers want a durable career – nearly a quarter of workers (23 percent) disclosed they are actively trying to change their job and/or move to a “future proof” industry where skills are in higher demand long-term, where they see the best career development prospects and strongest earning potential.
- Pay and benefits – salary is a priority, but it’s not all that matters. Pay is still a top priority for workers, although half of the workers would trade a pay cut for work-life balance. This importance placed on pay and desired flexibility, many believe, could help to mitigate the number of unpaid overtime workers who believe they are contributing without compensation.
- Mental health – Stress is increasing and work is suffering. While workers are surprisingly upbeat surrounding job satisfaction and outlook for the next five years, stress at work has reached critical levels, exasperated by a trend that was already in motion prior to the pandemic. The impact on workers professionally, as well as personally, is profound and employers have taken notice by striving to find ways to support their workforce.
- Remote work and living arrangements – people poised to make a move. Remote and hybrid work are an established feature of the working world, blurring the distinction between home and the workplace. This shift from the traditional 9-to-5 office-based model cannot be undone and has long-term implications for the jobs market. As companies – and employees – re-evaluate their approach to the workforce, having a flexible approach is key, as there are advantages and drawbacks to both exclusively, whether fully remote or fully in the office.
Overall, the report shows that two years post-pandemic, workers are thinking harder than ever about what they want out of work and life and are reassessing, and in some cases, inverting ideas around what they are worth, what job security means and what they want from their employers.