The future of work is here—and it doesn’t look the same as when we converted our kitchen tables and bedrooms into home offices in March 2020. The last two years have accelerated major shifts in workplaces and company culture, creating new expectations and changing priorities for employers and employees.
And it isn’t over—a year after it started, the Great Resignation is still underway as millions of workers have quit their jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 11 million current job openings, and over 20 million people left their jobs between July and December 2021. What’s the cause? According to recent research, the seismic shifts in daily living during the pandemic accelerated some trends while also giving people time to reflect on what was working for them when it came to work—and what wasn’t. Amid historic stress and uncertainty, workers thought long and hard about their lives. As a result, millions of people decided they wanted something else out of their relationship with their employers, like more flexibility and control over their schedules and where they work. On the outs are things like commutes—and, for some, business travel.
Right now, employees have perhaps more leverage than they’ve ever had before. The competition for talent is fierce, with nearly 90% of employers reporting increased turnover rates (which, of course, drives up hiring costs while also damaging productivity). With record job openings and record quits, many employers are finding it difficult to attract candidates at all, let alone the right candidates for their roles. Skilled positions in engineering, technology, education, and medicine are among the hardest to fill—and many of these are critical to productivity and business continuity.
It’s easy to generalize and think that all employee groups have embraced the Great Resignation and the future of work, but this would be an oversimplification. Many of these emerging trends and changing priorities are being driven by younger generations in the workforce—specifically, millennials and Gen Z, according to Zety. These age groups accounted for nearly 60% of all resignations in 2021. Older workers are displaying more caution than younger, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t swayed by trends.
What do you need to know about the future of work? And what does it mean for your business? Here are a few key trends to watch.
Trends in the future of work
Four key trends related to the future of work include:
The world of work doesn’t look the same as it did two years ago. But with the challenges come new opportunities, and savvy business owners who embrace them will end up ahead. Connecting and discussing the future of work with GOA Regional Business Association members can help you stay on top of changes—and what they mean for your business.