i3 | November 08, 2021

Key Trends for the Future of Work

Jackie Black
Future of work

Each year CTA surveys its members on current and future workforce issues. 

CTA’s 5th Annual Future of Work study revealed three key trends that will impact the workplace going forward.

Flexible Work Options

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, CTA members were reporting that flexible work is key. Whether it’s allowing for designated telework days, conducting remote interviews or providing stipends for work from home equipment, hybrid work is now part of the long-term strategy for 80% of companies.

In 2021, 92% of respondents said providing flexible work arrangements as a benefit is important for retaining employees. This percentage has steadily increased since 2017 when 74% reported as such.

“The post-COVID workplace means an entirely new set of rules for engagement,” says David Lewis, CEO, OperationsInc. “Employers who pay close attention to the new norms will be best positioned to attract and retain talent. The biggest change is around how many employees want the ability to work from home some or all the time. If the role can be successfully performed remotely then employees expect to have that option. If employers insist on their in-office presence for work all or most of the time, the data suggests that you will see more of your valued team heading elsewhere.”

Employer Provided Training

Gone are the days that tech employers can expect to hire a candidate who possesses every desired skill. Eighty-three percent of employers said they will need more employees with technical skills. With this steady demand for tech workers we’ve seen over the past five years, employers are investing more in employee training. Almost one-third of companies are looking to apprenticeships to find qualified candidates, a number that has been on an upward trend. Forty-four percent said that tuition reimbursement is important for retaining employees in the next five years — an eight-point increase since 2017.

Amazon, which has been a leader in upskilling and training programs, explains why these are important benefits to provide. “The past 18 months have made it clear to Amazon that skills training and education are important to our employees,” says Ardine Williams, Amazon vice president of Workforce Development. “Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a surge in applications to our upskilling programs, reflecting employees’ interest in bolstering their skills and future-proofing their careers. We are now offering more choice when it comes to education and skills training opportunities funded by Amazon — which includes funding for bachelor’s degrees, GEDs and ESL proficiency certifications all of which are foundational for building career success at Amazon or beyond.”

New D&I Leadership

We are seeing more companies that have diversity and inclusion staff in various roles. In 2021, 42% of companies reported a D&I team — a number that has steadily increased. More, 36% of companies now have staff responsible for diverse hiring, a six-point increase from 2020.

Joseph Matthews, vice president, purchasing and diversity officer, Gentex Corp., shared insights into his evolving D&I leadership role. “I am directly responsible for diversity and inclusion. However, in that side of the organization, I’m a person of one and I report directly to the CEO. I have the responsibility for the strategy, but I leverage a lot of different organizations for the execution. Leveraging different organizations (i.e. functions) within the company who are striving to activate Gentex’s DEI vision multiplies the impact. It allows initiatives to grow and flourish with creative solutions, and informative and engaging communications and educational programs.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many workforce trends, it’s clear that flexible work, employee development and D&I leadership are three areas that are increasingly important for employers to be successful and keep up with the future of work.

To learn more, download CTA’s 5th Annual Future of Work study and join us at CES 2022.

Hybrid work is now part of the long-term strategy for 80% of companies.
i3 magazine November/December 2021 cover

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