Must-read global employee opinion on the world of work

The Workforce View 2020 explores employees’ attitudes and opinions towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future. ADP Research Institute surveyed 32,442 workers around the world between 29 October 2019 and 6 January 2020.

As the 2020s get underway, HR leaders around the globe are facing up to a new world in which there are multiple challenges. An economic landscape already being re-shaped by rapid changes has now received a sharp shock in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic and many aspects of the way we work may never be the same again.

This report provides a snapshot in time of the worldwide workforce view just before the outbreak spread across the globe, providing invaluable insight into trends already developing before the virus hit.

Those trends are many and varied. Many industries are undergoing rapid change driven by technological advances and so developing and retaining skills remains key. Even where there is no shortage of labour to draw on, a number of macro workplace trends mean that the skills on offer are increasingly mismatched with those required to compete effectively, and to build the organisations of the future.

Such issues are likely to be exacerbated the longer coronavirus-related business disruption continues. Ensuring they have access to the skills and talent they need during these tough times and into recovery is therefore likely to remain an over-riding area of focus for employers going forward — and one which plays into all the other issues explored in this report.

Of these, three deep structural changes are particularly notable, impacting how employers approach labour demand and supply, and how employees feel about and relate to the workplace. Taken together, all these trends are forcing us to challenge everything we know about work:

An ageing population

As millions of Baby Boomers reach retirement, employers face an exodus of skilled talent, while governments are left with an ever-increasing social care bill to cover. Coronavirus may well accelerate this exodus as those approaching pension age decide now is the time to retire early or have to do so amid business cutbacks. Views are mixed about how best to address these issues, with many countries raising the retirement age, and changing pensions allowances as a way to bridge the shortfall. However, the success of these initiatives, and their long-term impact on the workforce, remains to be seen and policies designed in the last decade may need to be re-written in this one.

The gig economy

A desire for greater flexibility is causing traditional employment contracts to be torn up, as the so-called Gig Economy has exploded in recent years. Yet, this new pool of contractor and freelance talent also brings controversy in its wake. Who is really benefitting from unprecedented flexibility around employee rights and security? Are gig workers following this career path out of choice, or is this freedom really an illusion? Such questions become even more pertinent in a post COVID-19 economy which is shining a stark spotlight onto issues such as job security, worker rights and flexible working for both employees

Tech innovation

Skills needs are shifting, as industries across the board adopt new technologies and gradually automate their operations, reducing manual work, and altering business models, sometimes beyond recognition. As many businesses swiftly pivot their operations to adapt to new demands in 2020 and the notion of the workplace rapidly alters as remote working gains traction, high-tech tools and skilled people who can design and use them will be in ever greater demand. Since this trend presents both opportunities and threats, understanding how employees feel about their prospects is vital.

The Global Workforce View explores these themes, and numerous others, providing a unique barometer of employee experiences, perspectives and beliefs at a critical moment, on the cusp of a new decade and prior to the spread of coronavirus.

By surveying over 30,000 workers in 17 countries and four continents, we reveal how employees are responding to important and topical issues and discuss what this means for employers looking to optimise their talent and operations for a rapidly changing world.

To see the results and discover more:

Download the report