Employment Trends We Should Expect To See in 2021
By Anthony Ysasaga
December 14th, 2020
We are all looking forward to closing out 2020. It has been a very challenging year for us all.
I have been thinking about the changes to our employment landscape and industry trends and how COVID has impacted our day to day business, including our personal lives. What has changed, and what changes are coming as remote or virtual work becomes the new normal.
I am amazed at the challenges brought before us and how professionally we have adjusted our sails to navigate the rough waters of 2020. I am also curious about what permanent changes we will implement in 2021.
These changes brought about a change in leadership regarding remote and virtual work. I believe that this change is here to stay. About ten years ago, I worked virtually for one of the largest consulting groups in North America, and most consultants were remote. The tools made available to the team included productivity tracking, productivity metrics, web-based video conferencing, and virtual classrooms for learning and certification. 90% of consultants worked remotely with great success. My point is that it worked wonderfully then and with the technology and cloud-based systems we have now, those systems should operate even more efficiently to manage productivity today and, in 2021.
More importantly, as more employees continue to work remotely, companies need to understand and evolve to create an organizational structure centered around remote employee management. Adept leaders must find ways to connect and engage with their workforce regularly, using technology to its fullest potential.
That said, here are what I believe to be the top three trends that gain visibility and momentum in our industry. These bullet points, I believe, will be the way our country and the international business communities execute business operations in 2021 and beyond:
Due to the increase in permanent remote roles, geographic barriers no longer exist for top talent. This new way of doing business opens up the landscape for out-of-reach talent. Remote work will open doors across the country as well as internationally. This will also allow a larger and more competitive talent pool. Remote employees have more flexibility as the concern over their location or commuting distance is truly eliminated.
We are looking at top talent that can and will work for your organization, no matter where they live.
An Uptick in Contract Workers and Temp Workers
As we have seen recently with millennials, more and more individuals are looking to work on their own terms, and I truly expect to see an increase in contract workers, 1099’s, temporary workers as well as on-call workers. Evidence of this is already evident in the passage of California’s Prop 22, which classifies drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies as “independent contractors” rather than employees – a type of model that is anticipated to go nationwide.
After reviewing a number of periodicals and reference data, it is predicted that in 2021 contract and temp worker jobs will outnumber traditional office-based, nine-to-five jobs in the new year. As flexibility becomes a priority for many formerly full-time, office-bound employees, companies will see the fastest way to reach their desired results is by using a mix of “gig employees.”
The job losses associated with COVID layoffs will force many unemployed workers to change careers as their industry remains troubled. Most traditional workers cannot find any work in their old field. Adapting to developing new skills, learning new software or new system, getting a more in-demand skill certificate, learning a trade, going to graduate school, or finishing a college education will all be needed to transition into new, different careers and jobs. The new job market will, without a doubt, cause people to shift their priorities into becoming more marketable.
The events of 2020 have affected our lives, business, economy, and the world. But we, as human beings, are adept and learning how to navigate new environments and challenges. A thousand years ago, we were living in areas that most consider unhabitable. Change and adaptation are in our DNA. The only difference is that we now have access to more tools, greater flexibility in our day-to-day operations, and a strong focus on using technology to adapt to change. If we can embrace these attributes starting today, they will make our businesses stronger and more successful than ever.