It’s a big call, narrowing down the top 8 workforce trends for 2022. But we’ve done it.
With most of us hoping to put 2021 in the review mirror, we’ve turned our gaze forward to next year. We’ve been busy researching the trends expected to explode (or further explode) when it comes to working and workforce management.
There’s a lot out there to take on. Luckily for you, we’ve done all the legwork.
#1 Technology Favouring the Gig Economy
One of the biggest workforce trends for next year will be the ongoing evolution of technology and the gig economy. There have been a number of historical outcomes from the intersection of technology and the gig economy to date. And in 2022, we’re going to see an even deeper integration of the two, which will likely result in…
Broader use of app-based talent platforms. As non-traditional recruitment (for example, sourcing through app-based or online talent marketplaces) becomes mainstream in response to workers choosing a non-permanent work status, the market will irreversibly change. The result will be immediate access to quality workers, the ability to act on business demands quickly and fast deployment of specialist workers. It’s exciting.
Similarly, the use of freelance management systems (FMS), like Adepto, is also on the rise, where corporates can better organise their non-permanent labour in the cloud as an all-access contingent labour talent pool. This is already extending into integration of FMS systems with vendor management system (VMS) technology and temporary labour payroll providers.
Big ticket specialists will be accessible. There are a number of jobs and job categories that are growing in demand, and short on supply, especially in IT, VR, AR, robotics and the like – a workforce trend we saw plenty of in 2020. Many of the workers coming through in these categories are choosing to gig. And they’re pricey. But organisations aren’t put off, because they’re hiring these gun specialists for a specific timeframe and outcome, and then they’re gone. It’s a total win-win.
Better communications for gig workers. Digital face-to-face meetings, through Zoom or Skype, have become the norm in this post-pandemic world. This means gig workers and their employers are able to make better, faster decisions. Streamlining how gig workers deliver makes for a better experience for all parties and similarly will boost the uptake of corporates engaging gig workers.
No so much a ‘workforce trend’ as a ‘workplace trend’. The gig economy has sparked an explosion of collaborative work spaces: office environments for non-permanent workers to collaborate, or simply work in a more social setting. With rising vaccination numbers, and a commitment from the government to end lockdowns, we see contractors making a return to these spaces in 2022.
It’s human nature to crave social contact, and collaborative work spaces achieve that for many working in the gig economy. These spaces are not just a place to ‘go to work’. They stimulate networking, partnering up with other experts in the industry, producing outputs and ‘teams’ that would otherwise never have united. The result for clients is significant: more expertise for in-demand projects, with often faster and more cost-effective results.
#3 Attracting Millennials to fill the skills gap
Ageing populations and increasingly fragmented workforces have left many industries and countries experiencing labour and skills shortages. As millennials come into the workforce, companies are finding ways to attract and engage them.
Rather than ‘they’re lucky to work here’, there’s more of a mindset of ‘what drives them to work here?’. Issues like corporate social responsibility and providing an environment where millennials feel they’re making a difference are strategies that meet the ideals of new workers. Smart companies are onto this already.
Businesses are increasingly realising the value of a diverse workforce, from both productivity and profitability standpoints. So, facilitating diversity will be on the rise in 2022. For example, better daycare facilities (in or near workplaces), greater flexibility for parental leave and referral initiatives for boosting worker involvement in finding new talent. Engagement strategies that drive cultural diversity in the workplace is know to boost profitability and shareholder returns.
#5 Rise of the Gig Economy
Perhaps the most obvious trend that will continue in 2022 is the ongoing growth of the gig economy. Today in the US, more than 35% of the workforce is considered contingent. Let that sink in. The fact is, the gig economy has, of itself, been self-propagating.
As more workers have become interested in gig work, more businesses that rely on these workers have risen up. Not only that, the gig economy has shifted how traditional businesses approach their workforce strategy. Investing in on-demand labour and automation is transforming the workforce to one that is becoming increasingly reliant on gig workers.
Potentially the most transformational workforce trend we’ll see next year is the effect of automation on the workforce. Increasing alignment between people and robots is already happening, and the augmentation of humans, by robots, is accelerating. The ability of robots to understand human language, develop motor skills, and even conduct logical reasoning are all on the rise.
The impact of automation will have many positives including a boost to productivity and error reduction. And unlike the often espoused thinking that ‘robots are taking our jobs!’, quite the opposite is actually the case. A Deloitte study out of the UK found that of the 800k low-skilled jobs taken by automation technologies, 3.5 million jobs (which actually paid over $10k more) were created. This is truly a transformational era.
#7 Alumni Labour
As baby boomers retire, skill gaps become increasingly apparent. The ‘corporate brain drain’ has the potential to lead to massive IP and expertise loss to businesses – and one of the devastating workforce trends we’ll see next year.
What we’re going to see more of in 2022 is the pooling of alumni talent through the cloud for business to access on-demand. The integration of FMS with human capital management systems will facilitate this opportunity for business to securely maintain knowledge and IP, with a very transparent lens on worker expertise, previous roles and technical skills. This permission-based talent pool is a win-win for business and workers keen to keep their toe in their field of expertise.
#8 Independent worker attraction and retention strategies
Independent professionals – whether they’re contingent, temps or non-permanent workers – will have more choices in 2022 when it comes to selecting the clients they work with and the framework in which they work. As a result, organisations will need to get smart and strategic with respect to attracting (and re-attracting) contractors to their business. Examples of how businesses are already starting to do this include prompt payment guarantees, financial services or tax advice, travel discounts and more: incentives that are custom-built for the non-permanent talent in a business.
So…what’s your view? Are there any other workforce trends you’re expecting in 2022? Contact us here and let us know!