The disruption and uncertainty of the past two years have created a change in employee sentiment and expectations like we have never experienced before. And the effect is consistent regardless of global geography. Workforce expectations have changed and include aligning to their values, a focus on their well-being, and more flexibility in their professional lives.
A recent study from ADP, People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View, highlights what today’s workforce deems most important. According to ADP Chief Economist, Nela Richardson, “The pandemic signaled a paradigm shift as today’s workers re-evaluate the presence of work in their lives, and the stakes have never been higher for employers. Our research highlights the extent to which employees’ views of work changed, now prioritizing a wider and deeper range of factors that are more personal in nature. With recruitment and retention among the most business-critical issues, these revelations offer both a challenge and an opportunity for employers as they seek to keep workers engaged and fulfilled.”
Workers Want Change
The transactional nature of work is changing in employees’ eyes. Job security has been declining for decades and employees today are more focused on a culture that aligns with their values. Employers would be wise to consider this paradigm shift for both recruitment and retention of employees.
- 71% of employees have considered a major career move in this past year
- Work-life balance is not just an issue for working parents, with nearly three-quarters of them saying they would like more flexibility, followed closely by non-parents at 68% requesting more flexibility
- DEI is also an important indicator of culture, with 76% of respondents saying they would consider a new job if their company doesn’t have pay equity
Job Satisfaction and Outlook
As we emerge from the pandemic, employees are optimistic about their future prospects. With the great resignation taking place this optimism could indicate that people are looking not just at their current roles, but opportunities to move to new roles.
- Surprisingly, 90% of employees stated they are “satisfied” in their current employment, though that number drops to 49% when looking at “very satisfied”
- More than 60% of employees expect a raise in the coming year, and more than 40% believe they will receive a promotion
- Employees are looking at the changing professional landscape as nearly a quarter are actively looking to “future proof” their career by making a move to an industry where skills are in more demand for the long term
Pay and Benefits
Salary, not surprisingly, is a top priority for employees, with nearly two-thirds saying it is their top priority. More than three-quarters of those who believe they have earned a raise said they are prepared to ask for one. And half of the respondents said they would take a pay cut if it meant more flexibility in structuring their hours or improved their work-life balance.
While respondents said they are optimistic, they are also under more stress. This trend predates the pandemic. Stress has become a workplace issue that can’t be ignored, and companies are looking at ways to support their employees.
- Two-thirds of employees stated they have work-related stress at least once a week, and 15% feel stressed every day
- More than half of respondents said their stress is impacting their job performance negatively
- On the bright side, 70% of employees said they feel supported by their leadership and 75% said they are supported by colleagues
Remote Work and Living Arrangements
We all realize that remote work is here to stay, and the majority of companies are rolling out hybrid work arrangements. Flexibility is key for employees as the old work model of 9-to-5 is no longer an accepted definition.
- If asked to return to the office full time, 64% of respondents said they would consider looking for a new job, and the number goes up to 71% for those under 25
- More than half of the respondents said they would take a pay cut of up to 11% if it enabled them to have a more flexible work arrangement
- Interestingly, based on where respondents are currently working, be it remote or in the office, there is a difference in optimism with 89% of remote workers saying they are optimistic versus 77% of those who go into the office
The views expressed in the study are reminders of how important it is to have open, ongoing dialog with employees about their expectations and aspirations. The changes brought about over the past two years are redefining corporate culture, and successful companies are those that listen and evolve.
For more information on culture and other workforce topics, check out our blog.