The world has dealt with a lot of changes in the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way people work, buy and live. At the height of the pandemic, many companies sent their employees home to work remotely. As companies return to a more typical schedule, they’re finding workers want different things than they used to and workforce trends are still in flux.
The Great Resignation has impacted everything from wages to work conditions. In a recent PwC Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, researchers looked at 52,000 workers in 44 different countries. They studied the state of workforce trends currently and in the near future.
They found approximately 20% of workers plan to quit their jobs in the next year. Around 71% want to leave to change jobs, which many millennials and Gen-Zers see as the only way to gain a promotion and raise.
What Workforce Trends Will We See in 2023?
Everywhere one looks, there are help wanted signs, listings of job openings and calls for talent. Some industries lost more workers than others. For example, restaurants often have trouble finding staff. People didn’t want to risk catching COVID. Low wages and poor work conditions drove them to quit and seek other employment or strike out on their own.
Some workforce trends are easy to predict. People got used to new standards during the two years of social distancing. Now, they want to keep the things that make sense for work/life balance and maintain their mental health.
How can leaders attract top talent and keep them during such uncertain times? A good place to start is by understanding what workers want and the trends you’re likely to see in the next few years. If you step up your game, you may find you have plenty of staff to cover your needs. Here are the trends we think companies should pay the most attention to.
1. Remote Work
A recent study noted that the percentage of high-paying remote jobs jumped from 4% to more than 15% by the end of 2020 in North America.
Those who got a taste of working from home have no desire to return to the office. Workforce trends seem to point to more remote work. People like the convenience of not commuting to and from the office. They also save money on fuel, lunch out and professional clothing.
Takeaway: If your company can function via remote work, allow employees some flexibility with where they work.
2. Focus on Employee Experience
Have you ever missed out on someone you thought might do an excellent job, but they lacked the required education? The labor shortage seems to have created a workforce trend where companies look at experience and not just education.
Someone who has been in the industry and done the job or a similar one might actually be better prepared to step into the role and take it to the next level. Book learning only goes so far.
Takeaway: Your dream candidate might be one with the training and the experience to fill the role. In reality, you may have to choose one or the other.
3. Flexible Schedules
COVID-19 hasn’t fully gone away. When people have children or family members with the illness, the entire household must quarantine. Add the stress of being a parent and your child goes to e-learning because several children in the classroom are ill.
One way you can keep workers struggling to balance family and work is by giving them more flexible schedules. Many tasks can be completed at any time. Companies are jumping onto workforce trends, such as flex time, shifting schedules and workshare programs.
Takeaway: Talk to your employees about their work hours. Is anything not meshing well with their lives? How might it be fixed?
4. Better Company Culture
Younger workers are demanding the work/life balance and a positive work environment. If employers don’t create a nurturing environment, they leave and find another position. Out of all the workforce trends, this one may be most beneficial to both staff and owners.
Creating a more positive company culture benefits companies as well. They wind up with loyal employees. Churn rates drop, and since it costs companies money to recruit and train new workers, the business saves money. Productivity often rises with an enhanced company culture.
Takeaway: An excellent company culture benefits everyone.
5. Unique Perks
The latest reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the separation rate little changed, with about 4.2 million people quitting in June 2022. At the height of the pandemic, around 47 million people left, were laid off or retired from their jobs.
The number doesn’t seem to be improving as some thought it might. Instead, there are still 10.7 million job openings and an increase in the open positions at larger corporations. How can a smaller business compete with the wages and benefits of a larger company?
One thing you can do is offer unique perks the bigger guys might not think of having. Create a snack space, offer extra paid time off (PTO), give employees time to volunteer for their pet projects and offer things such as education reimbursement and vacation bonuses.
Takeaway: Find perks that are unique. Ask your employees for ideas. Let them choose between Option A or Option B and then later give them both as you can afford it.
6. More Automation
As machines get smarter, more companies turn to computers to automate various tasks. Anything repetitive will likely lose the staff member and gain automation. Local fast food places now use kiosks to take orders, for example.
How can your company fill the worker shorter but still hire people and pay them living wages? Automate the things that are repetitive and leave your employees to the work of seeking new customers and coming up with fresh ideas.
Takeaway: Machines and automation are on the rise, but you’ll still need employees to fill open positions.
Pay Attention to the News
If you don’t already follow technology and business news to keep up with workplace trends, start doing so. Skim the headlines and read things in-depth if they pertain to your industry. When you know what might happen, you’ll be much better prepared for the changes we’ll see in 2023 and beyond.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.