With the decade’s calendar turned overleaf, this new year brings a whole new optimism with it. The last decade brought revolutionary changes in the corporate world and it wasn’t just an exodus of the suit-and-tie culture that was noticeable. From the start-up culture making it ‘fun’, to a staggering number of Millennials and Gen-Zers stepping into the picture and of course—fancy offices—lots of them, everything changed.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is human behavior. It is human beings that get things done and they’re the ones that thrive in exigent situations and that’s what gets the results. Sure, the dance between beings and machines shall continue this decade and it might heat up a notch. But for a more plausible forecast, let’s look at the workforce trend predictions that shall roll into 2021.
The statistics are yet to come out with an embossed sigil, but the unemployment rate in the US of A has de-escalated in comparison to last year, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics. Not only does this exemplify that it will get better next year, but it also explains the automation and arrival of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, something that the workforce considers to be its arch-nemesis, doesn’t really gulp their jobs.
The unemployment rate in the US of A has de-escalated in comparison to last year.
Let’s look at 8 of the most plausible predictions in workforce trends that have a great chance of making it into offices around you. Whenever the new year phases on, employees walk into it with high spirits, newfound resolutions, and in some cases, new jobs. Let’s see what this year has to show.
Workforce Trend Predictions for 2021
1. Gen-Z’s Arrival with Screens and Memes
An age diversity transition is inevitable and as we unveil the new year in all its spirits, Gen-Zers will officially take the center stage away from baby boomers (well, at least they’ll try to; more on that later). This zestful generation of young people born between the late ’90s to the end of the ’00s has a different perspective altogether—something that the management can salvage lots from.
Sure, the fact that they are #AlwaysActive on social media and use up to 5 screens at once does put them in a bad light, but in reality, this is what makes Gen-Zers an invaluable asset. In fact, more than a third of Gen-Zers in the workforce believe that engagement is the key to retention and better performance. That same proportion hankers for feedback from their superior/boss so as to become a better version of themselves.
According to an SHRM study, Gen-Zers will hold up to 36% of share in the workforce by the end of 2021. Not only does this make it crystal that clear that an organization has to tweak its engagement and recognition strategies accordingly, but also offer their workforce more ownership than what they were doing already. This high-flying generation doesn’t simply get the job done, but it takes ownership of it as well.
Now that 2021 rolls on, we can surely expect more youngies in casuals loitering around with smart wearables on their clothes, headphones in ears, and smartphones in hands.
2. Remote Work will take the Win
Remote work is very much in contention to be the buzzword of 2021 as it is something that the workforce is very much looking forward to inculcating in their daily lifestyle. Now that flexible work hours are the corporate equivalent of the new world order, this calls for a more dedicated workforce that can function round the clock if needed (Author’s Note: I’m writing this bit while watching Manchester United play at home).
Gone are the days when a job was simply nine-to-five and it has revolutionized into getting things done more than anything else. In a survey conducted by Buffer in collaboration with various bigwigs, it was found that 90% of workers who have worked remotely before, wish to do the same for the rest of their lives.
The corporate culture study by Kronos indicated that 71% of workers believe that a rigid work window hinders their personal lives. Not only does this prove the importance of flexibility, but it also shows that it’s not just a game of bench-warming the office desk that gets things done.
3. Gender Equality will no longer be about Balancing the Scales
Come to think of it, thanks to all the efforts, the issue of gender equality isn’t really a worrisome problem. In fact, it has been found that gender diversity has an astronomical impact on profitability (Ernst & Young).
An organization moving from zero female leaders to 30% of female leaders witnesses a 15% increase in net revenue margin—something that’s quite a robust figure in terms of skyrocketing numbers.
But it’s not just profitability and numbers that end the debate. Organizations have actively started respecting sexual orientations of individuals at the workplace by supporting health and life insurance policies for partners with LGBTQ+ identities. This is a crucial step for our advancement as a society and employees feel honored to work with an organization that respects who they are. The new year will witness a huge revolution in normalizing people’s gender identities and orientations. It’s best if everyone adapts to it, employers and employees alike.
4. Salary & Benefits shall stay on as Key Motivators
If someone’s wondering whether 2021 would be the year when employees would fall for “don’t work for the money” speech, then let’s burst that bubble—salary and the benefits will stay on as key motivators for a quintessential employee. But these factors are fiercely in competition with long-term job security, an opportunity to step up the career ladder, and a pleasant work atmosphere.
While an employer’s priority lies in hiring an employer that helps the organization become financially healthy, uses the latest technology, and carries a very good reputation, you can easily see the gap between employee-employer demands (Randstad). This has to be curbed in order to build a healthy culture where employees are recognized for their work and engaged to the max.
5. Formal Communication will get more Informal
Now that platforms like Slack, Google Business Hangouts, Skype, and hundreds of others are dominantly being used by organizations for intra-office communications, the textbook email templates would soon flourish. The salutations and pleasantries will slowly be cut out as instant messaging (IM) platforms will make verbal communication handier and more accessible.
It is absolutely correct to say that a formal communication channel as regal as email cannot be replaced, but for internal communications and inter-team collaboration, a group chat would be more effective than an email thread that goes on s for miles.
6. Millennial Employees will no longer be Job Nomads
Millennials are often known for their ‘job skipping’ stereotype as most of them keep scouring for opportunities to scale up their designations and paycheck. As the last decade wore on, millennials are now fully committed to settling in rather than switching jobs. 90% of millennials would definitely stay at their current job for more than 10 years if they’re offered two things:
- Annual raise in the paycheck
- A rise on the corporate ladder
This conclusion came out from a CNBC-exclusive survey with Qualtrics, wherein a lot of interesting findings were discovered. It was found that almost 40% of millennials would stay at their current job if they liked it, and only 36% of the total would leave it for a better opportunity. As for the stereotype that said that millennial employees have one foot out the door, only 3% of millennials said that they don’t like to spend all their time on one job, which kind of disapproves the myth.
The ‘Job Nomad’ stereotype hasn’t really disappeared, however, it shall move from one generation to the other. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Gen-Zers take that tag in the near future.
7. Baby Boomers will Make a Comeback
Coming back to the original hustlers of this cross-generational platter, the number of workers aged 65 years or more with bizarrely escalate. According to Glassdoor’s Job and Hiring Trends for 2021 report, the number of baby boomers will grow by a staggering 61%. This is probably the fastest-growing age group with the corporate world walking into the new decade and especially this year.
But why are baby boomers really making a comeback? Not only is it happening because the jobs are not as ‘physically daunting’ as they were before, but also because they bring a vast amount of knowledge with them. Many baby boomers are also seeking jobs for they couldn’t plan their ‘fairy tale retirement plan’ which has forced them back to work.
8. Automation will make Jobs Easier & not Gulp them down
Whenever there’s talk of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation, or self-driving cars, the first thought that comes to the employees is ”what about our jobs?”
Automation and amalgamation of efforts of human beings and technology have truly led to miraculous things in the near past and this collaboration would only bolster as the times fly. This Oxford research on how susceptible are our jobs to automation highlighted back in 2013 how more than 40% of jobs were at risk thanks to the rise of automation.
Now that AI is coming in with the 5th Industrial Revolution, the job risk would surely be there, but jobs won’t be lost to ones who update their knowledge base. No, that doesn’t mean that data-operators are supposed to learn machine learning, but at least they have to gear up with the change. AI and automation are just here for the betterment of consumers, ease for businesses, and to make employees’ jobs simpler.
Bring on the New Decade!
Now that the new year rolls out as the opening act for the new decade, here’s how the workforce trends should phase out in the year 2021. It would turn out to be a brilliant decade for all stakeholders in the business, but one thing’s for sure—employees dig recognition, respect, and a formidable pay. Hence, keeping them engaged is extremely crucial so that they are adaptable to every trend that comes along.
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