Jhere are some constants when it comes to what employees are looking for. A fair wage and being treated with respect, for example, will never go out of style. But the rest of the workers’ wish list has always been a bit more flexible.
In the dot-com era, for example, break rooms with ping-pong or foosball tables were coveted. Decades ago, a good pension plan was essential. Today, however, we are in a post-pandemic world, which has prompted a lot of thinking about what is important for employees. At the same time, the workforce is changing, with Gen Z entering the workforce, a group that now makes up 32% of the world’s population and thinks quite differently from the generation Y or baby boomers.
So what is the priority for the 2022 and 2023 workforce? Some of the answers are fairly obvious, given the past two years, but others are a bit more surprising.
Salary, of course, is always important. Fairness and equity, according to the Harvard Business Review, will be “the defining issues” for organizations in the future. And a Gallup survey of more than 13,000 US employees on what was most important to them, saw “a significant increase in income or benefits” top the list. Since 2015, this item has moved in priority for workers from #4 on the list with 41% of employees citing it as “very important”, to #1 with 64% of employees citing it as a critical factor in making of a new job.
Flexibility, as you might expect, is also a given now. If a company has been able to support remote working during the pandemic, workers at least want the option to continue working from home part of the time. And a growing number of people wish they had more control over the hours they work each day, becoming more goal-oriented than clock-obsessed.
And, given what we’ve all been through over the past couple of years, there’s also a focus on strong benefits that both cover mental health issues and don’t penalize stay-at-home workers. when they are sick. Workers want a work culture that emphasizes self-care and well-being (and, related to the expectation of flexibility, they want to know it’s okay to take a day off to recharge from time to time).
In fact, in the Gallup survey, 61% of respondents said they placed a high value on improving their work-life balance and personal well-being, up from just 53% in 2015.
Here are a few other things employees hope to find in their workplace:
Greater job security
As many workers today leave their jobs and search for a new one, they want where they land to give them some peace of mind about their long-term future. After two years of uncertainty about everything from our health to our personal finances, employees want workplaces that are a stabilizing force and a constant for them.
In the Gallup poll, just over half (53%) of workers said they were looking for jobs with a higher degree of security than they currently have.
Diversity and Inclusion
After the events following the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, more and more workers are looking for a workplace that actively supports fairness, rather than just giving platitudes to issues. . Recruiters, Gallup says, need to be prepared to discuss changes and commitments companies are making or are planning to make.
Automation is coming to many workplaces and the pandemic has accelerated this transition. So workers want to be prepared for the future and they look to their companies to make sure of that. McKinsey, in a 2021 study, found that automation (and other factors) had the potential to accelerate annual productivity growth by about one percentage point through 2024. That’s more than double the pre-pandemic rate. And in the United States, that could mean a per capita increase of around $17,000.
But the trick is to be ready to accept these new jobs. And some companies are already taking the lead. Unilever, for example, is committing to spending $2.8 billion a year to upskill its entire global workforce by 2025.
Fortunately, workers often only need to learn a few new skills to completely switch disciplines, according to a study by the World Economic Forum. And in a pinch, the average worker could be requalified for an entirely different role in just six months.
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