It should come as no surprise that the world of work continues to change rapidly. Thanks to advances in technology and an increasing interest in leveraging the benefits of remote work, employees are more autonomous and have more flexibility with their hours and workplaces. Meanwhile, employers benefit from a more connected and productive staff.
A study and survey by the ADP Research Institute, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workforce, covers a multitude of changes still yet to come. They can be boiled down to three main areas: technology, globalization, and work structure.
Cultural changes are a significant catalyst driving shifts in these areas as well. For instance, millennials are influencing every facet of work culture, the report notes, “from demanding increased freedom to choose their own work schedules and locations, to encouraging more collaboration on an even playing field, to driving innovation.”
Their impact will be long and lasting. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Across the globe, workers based in different countries and regions have different perspectives on the workplace shifts that may eventually affect us all. Here are six highlights from this in-depth global study that reveal what many of us can expect at work in the future.
1. Remote work
Companies will need to continue building their remote teams, as real estate prices persistently soar in major cities like New York and San Francisco and workers get priced out.
However, according to ADP’s research, employers and employees diverge on whether increased global hiring is a positive trend.
Employees are more concerned about job stability and security, while employers are excited to search for the best talent, no matter their location.
Fun fact: In the United States and Canada, 81 percent and 61 percent of survey respondents respectively are “eager or excited” to work from anywhere in the world. When it comes to defining their own schedules, 80 percent and 65 percent of Americans and Canadians are looking forward that opportunity.
2. Necessary new skills
Survey participants see firsthand that their workplaces are changing quickly, and they are eager to stay in the know. About two-thirds of American respondents say that they feel excited about growth opportunities that come from learning new skills, though some find the pressure to keep up to be stressful.
In the future, many more companies will add programs for continuous learning. Some have started partnering with businesses like Udacity. It offers work-based technology courses like data analysis and mobile development, awarding employee graduates “nanodegrees” or certifications.
Fun fact: 68 percent of Americans and half of Canadians believe they will need to quickly learn new skills to keep up with their ever-changing roles.
3. A closer look at Europe
According to ADP’s research, the Europeans they surveyed report feeling warier about the changes coming their way, concerned that they might impede their “work to live” approach. Others in countries like the United Kingdom look forward to changes that will stabilize their work/life balance. Overall, Europeans report feeling eager to enjoy more flexibility over their schedules and where they work.
Fun fact: There are mixed opinions on whether these shifts actually will occur, with 25 percent of respondents thinking the changes won’t happen…and 25 percent believing they already are underway.
4. Education is changing
Acknowledging that employees need to work hard to keep up with technology, many countries have shifted their approach to education.
They’ve retooled their curricula and developed objectives to foster entrepreneurship at a young age. Many emphasize skills that are key to working in teams, including communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.
Fun fact: The survey found that 52 percent of Europeans express apprehension about constantly having to tackle new skills in order to regularly shift roles. This compares to 33 percent of Americans and 31 percent of Latin Americans.
5. Freedom and flexibility
These trends are emerging already. Many workers worldwide are able to work at the place and time that best suits them.
Other trends include throwing standard retirement ages out the window and being given time and permission to work on personal areas of interest at work. This reflects millennials’ general regard for feeling a sense of purpose at work.
Fun fact: Though some companies like Google and Facebook allow their employees to work on projects of their own choosing already, millennials are skeptical that this trend will broaden and continue.
6. Contract or hire?
Technology for remote teams allows staff to work from anywhere, prompting many businesses to expand their hiring globally and move toward an even more contract-heavy workforce.
This allows business leaders to adjust their workforce based on real-time needs and find the best talent agnostic of location. Simultaneously, workers benefit from having more job opportunities at multinational companies and a more fluid career path — although it may also affect full-time opportunities and stability.
Fun facts: 74 percent of senior executives are “eager or excited” to exclusively hire project workers on a contract basis. This compares to 46 percent of millennials and 36 percent of people who have been in the workforce for five to 15 years.
Comparing different global regions, 35 percent of Europeans are “eager or excited” for contract hiring, compared to 59 percent in North America, 61 percent in Asia-Pacific, and 65 percent in Latin America.
At Redbooth, we’re committed to making global collaboration easier and more efficient — while helping your team feel more connected than ever. If you’re interested in expanding your distributed workforce, take Redbooth for a free 30-day test drive and see what it can do for you.