The Impact of Shifting Demographics on the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic’s disruptive force has accelerated pre-existing workforce trends, and one of the biggest changes seen in the past year has been the transformation of workplace demographics. For employers, here’s what to expect in the coming years, and how to navigate the ongoing shifts.

Download the full 21 Trends for 2021 infographic for more trends and insights.

Prepare for skills scarcity

The most significant workforce transformation since World War II has created a global talent shortage that is expected to result in 85 million unfilled roles by 2030, according to a new Korn Ferry report. Technical ability and human skills like creativity, collaboration and leadership will continue to grow in demand while admin, hospitality, and legal/business support jobs will decline. To prepare, employers can look to both reskill employees as well as add and refine the list of soft skills that will continue to be in demand.

Polarisation and the need to speak out

Increasing social tension and greater recognition of inequality, especially with regards to race, will call for more transparency from organisations around human capital, diversity and inclusion initiatives as key to recovery and growth.

Increasingly, employees and customers are demanding that companies take an official stand on social justice, climate change and other critical global issues. Just as customers can support companies that align with their values, employees can choose to bring their talents to organisations that take meaningful stands on relevant issues. It will be important that companies are aware of this increasing pressure and ensure that they promote the causes they are advocating for, as well as offer employees an internal platform to help instigate change and improvements.

Remote work goes mainstream

Today, nearly half (43%) of workers think the COVID-19 crisis marks the end of every day in the workplace. Whether this is true or not, the on-demand workforce, hybrid work models and work untethered from physical offices are all on the rise.

Reducing an organisation’s overall real estate footprint, greater mobility and creating job opportunities beyond borders will drive both employee and employer preferences. For employers, that means many job opportunities should no longer be tied to a specific location or work schedule – allowing talent from further afield to be considered, offering new talent pools and the potential to reduce costs.

The persistent gender gap

As women are disproportionately affected by both social and economic crises due to the pandemic, and over-represented in job losses across industries including retail, leisure and hospitality. At the same time, there is a clear opportunity for women to reskill and upskill in growth sectors including information technology, operations and logistics. They are an untapped talent pool that could be re-skilled or upskilled for many of the jobs of tomorrow.

Many of the above trends aren’t new, but dramatic changes of the past year have only accelerated them as well as a need for action. Now, instead of preparing for a far-off future, it’s time to start performing for the future that is here-and-now.


Download ManpowerGroup’s Top 21 Trends for 2021 infographic for more information on the major forces of demographic shifts, rise of individual choice, growing client sophistication, technological revolution as well as emerging trends shaping the workplace and workforce of the future. Learn more here.