This year brings with it a whole new perspective of work. The past decade has eroded suit-and-tie culture, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated revolutionary changes in corporate America. Startup culture continues to dominate, and Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Zers) have become the predominant workforce as baby boomers retire in droves. From the disappearance of workstations to increasingly remote jobs, everything has changed.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is human behavior. In the face of challenges, people will solve problems and get things done.
This demonstrates that not only will things continue to improve, but also that automation will not devour jobs, as many fear. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will open up new opportunities as the workforce grows and changes.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most plausible predictions about labor market trends and how things will continue to evolve.
1. The Great Resignation
The most drastic and continuous change that people experience is the so-called “great resignation”. According to surveys, 44% of employees are “job seekers”. This means that nearly half of employees are looking for a new job or plan to do so soon. Unemployment rates soared at the start of the pandemic when many businesses were closed. Apparently arbitrarily, many people found themselves out of work depending on whether they were declared “indispensable” or not.
Higher wages, inflation, and more flexible working conditions are all reasons people are looking for new jobs today. There are no signs of a slowdown either: 4.3 million people left their jobs in January. In 2021, nearly 48 million people have quit.
The Great Resignation can be seen as the result of many factors that combine and manifest in the global workforce. With no signs of stopping, the Great Quit just might become the new normal for workers who quit when they feel like it.
2. Workers will seek more freedom
The Great Resignation is motivated by the following factor. Workers want more freedom and independence. Many jobs have been cut during the pandemic, and workers now expect that to continue.
The rise of flexible working hours means employees with an entrepreneurial spirit can start a business and start generating cash flow or take on side jobs to earn extra income.
Starting a business is a great way for workers to ditch the 9 to 5 and avoid the dreaded return to the office. Going back to the office can mean less quality time spent at home, more time commuting, and more time enriching others. Workers want to avoid spending hours in the car when they could be spending quality time with friends and family.
For employers, the writing is on the wall. To retain talent, they will need to find ways to give employees more freedom and independence.
3. Automation and technology will dominate
Another factor that is changing the landscape is greater automation and wider adoption of technology. Automation and technology adoption don’t just mean more people are using digital calendars. It also means employees are leveraging artificial intelligence, neural networks, and web-based microservices to help them do their jobs. The advent of the internet was once called the information age, and now, more than ever, it has become a reality.
Many companies acquire, process, store and sell large amounts of information. New opportunities have also arisen for workers who are more closely trained in these technological areas. Workers with experience in object-oriented programming languages are increasingly in demand. Today, there are job titles and fields that didn’t even exist 30 years ago.
Today’s workers need to understand data and the technologies available to leverage data for a business. As cloud computing and remote working become more mainstream, these technologies will become increasingly important for employees to understand.
4. Demand for benefits increases
Another trend that can be expected to continue is that employees want greater benefits and income security. Life insurance is a great way to guarantee income security. For example, life insurance costs on average between $15 and $100 per month in Canada. Similarly, a healthy man can expect $21 per month in fees in the United States. However, with inflation approaching 8%, more and more employees are looking for jobs that can guarantee them enough income to cover their retirement years.
More benefits don’t just mean pension plans. It can also mean health benefits and better treatment overall. For example, poor work environments have been a major factor in the unionization of Starbucks stores across the country. Either way, employers can expect employees to be more demanding.
5. Expect even more job jumps
It’s not just that workers are looking for work in droves, but many workers don’t stay even after being hired. One of the biggest reasons people change jobs is because they don’t get the benefits, work environment, or salary they want. As Zoomers and Millennials accumulate work experience, they often find that companies are willing to pay them more for their talent.
The conversation also changes. It used to be taboo to discuss your salary, but now more and more people are taking to TikTok to discuss how much they earn. Companies can no longer trick employees into staying in dead-end jobs when information about salary, lifestyle, and work environment is publicly available.
6. Side hustles will become the norm
Many people are also turning to other sources of income. For example, buying and selling crypto is a great way to make extra money that many people turn to. Others have used their free time to create e-commerce websites, taking advantage of social media. Even jobs like driving for Uber or Lyft offer perks and give employees more freedom than traditional jobs. The so-called “Gig Economy” is here to stay, and more and more people are finding ways to supplement their income.
7. Corporate advocacy will continue to grow
Social change is also essential. Employees and society as a whole demand that companies be held accountable for the impact of their behavior on the world. For example, Disney employees began planning a mass walkout in response to the company’s alleged failures to support an inclusive work environment for people who identify with LGBTQIA+. Other companies have found themselves at the center of controversy for investing in fossil fuels and non-green energy sources.
Governments are also setting businesses on fire. It was recently announced that the SEC is proposing new climate disclosure rules that would require investors to know their carbon footprint. Whether or not people agree with these changes, one thing is certain, demanding social change from corporations will only continue.
Conclusion: we are experiencing a historic upheaval
Basically, it is the workers who are demanding today. Surveys show that employees have more bargaining power than they ever had before. With more and more people demanding flexible work environments and better compensation, and automation and technology dominating almost every field, it’s no wonder employees are changing jobs. As baby boomers continue to retire, more changes will loom on the horizon as millennials and zoomers become the nation’s mainstream workforce.