The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a paradigm shift in all areas, especially in the HR function, which has had to transform many of its working procedures and tools to adapt to the new uncertainty of work and to maintain business continuity.
To understand the current complexity and to design the best strategies for the future, it is essential to thoroughly analyse the challenges and key elements of the changes that have taken place in recent months. In this article, we present the main pillars which, in our view form the basis of the new labour landscape.
- Resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic
If one thing is clear, it is that the world will not immediately return to pre-pandemic normality. The varying vaccination rates and levels of treatment around the world also show that the experience and consequences of the crisis keep changing enormously in different parts of the world. Even places in Europe and the US where the pandemic was thought to be over, there are signs of new waves of infection. All this suggests that the consequences of the pandemic will be present long after it has dissipated. The mental health implications are just one of the consequences of this situation that has had a major impact on the work environment.
- The “Great Resignation”.
By now you are likely to have heard of “The Big Resignation“, a new concept coined to describe the dramatic increase in voluntary redundancies (resignations) worldwide during 2021. A Microsoft study in early 2021 revealed that 40% of the global workforce seriously considered quitting their jobs in 2021. Thehe data collected is indeed alarming: in October 2021 in the US, 2.9% of the workforce left their jobs during August 2021. This represents the resignation of 4.3 million Americans in one month – a new record. The reasons for this wave of voluntary exits range from pandemic burnout to a collective reassessment of priorities and – most importantly – a change in people’s mindset (from “living to work” to “working to live”), as well as a reluctance to give up the flexibility of teleworking when companies force employees to return to the office in person.
- Technology continues to advance
81% of managers surveyed confirmed they could not have worked effectively during the pandemic if it had not been for HR solutions. they had not had i, Flexibility and responsiveness are undoubtedly some of the biggest benefits that technology brings to the HR function. Some 89% of managers and 83% of HR leaders say that HR technology has enabled them to be more flexible and responsive to new needs as these arose, while helping their organisations to become more resilient. These findings emerge against a backdrop of ever-growing advances in technology. Technologies that seemed like “science fiction” only a few years ago (e.g. advanced machine learning, virtual reality or the internet of things) are increasingly becoming real investment opportunities for HR leaders. However, there are often significant gaps between the maturity of organisational processes and the ability of new technology to add real value. Technological advances often come with the danger of becoming an obsession with these “shiny new toys” over core processes.
- Demographic changes are driving other changes.
In addition to workforce ageing, the massive incorporation of Generation Z into the global pool of skilled labour will undoubtedly have a major impact on the new labour landscape. Born in 1997 or later, the oldest members of Generation Z are on average 24 years old, which means that we are reaching a point where a greater proportion of this generation is finishing school and starting to work full time. Their desire for flexibility and purpose at work, coupled with their attachment to technology and their wish to be “good global citizens” will undoubtedly lead organisations to rethink many things in 2022 and beyond.
- Persistent under-skilling and skills scarcity
The World Economic Forum predicts that more than a billion people around the world will need to retrain by 2030. Fosway revealed the pandemic-driven digitisation of work and the growing ‘talent gap’, “59% of European organisations said skills had become more important, and 56% had taken steps to accelerate them”. It is therefore clear that upskilling and reskilling will be strategic priorities for organisations worldwide in the coming years.