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ADP Research Institute® Reveals Pandemic-Induced Shift in Workers’ Priorities and Expectations in New Global Study

In its annual study, ADPRI’s survey of more than 32,000 workers, including gig economy workers, in 17 countries, revealed both the remarkable global consistency of employee sentiment on the place transformed workplace, as well as the unique impact of the pandemic on local markets. In a time of continued disruption and uncertainty, the findings reveal the seismic shift in employee expectations of the workplace compared to the pre-pandemic period. The study reveals a new prioritization among employees that extends beyond salary and a few benefits to a comprehensive package that aligns with their personal values, redefines what job security means, prioritizes their well-being and encourages flexibility. These results, among a long and varied list of needs and expectations, can help guide employers in their approach to meeting what the workforce deems most important.

“The pandemic has marked a paradigm shift as today’s workers reassess the presence of work in their lives, and the stakes have never been higher for employers,” said Nela Richardson, Chief Economist, ADP. “Our research highlights how employees’ views of work have changed, now prioritizing a wider and deeper range of factors of a more personal nature. With recruitment and retention being among the most critical issues for company, these revelations offer both a challenge and an opportunity for employers looking to keep workers engaged and fulfilled.”

People at Work 2022: A holistic view of the workforce

Here are the main findings of the report:

Workers Want Change: Reassessing the Importance of Job Security and Business Ethics. COVID-19 has sparked a reassessment of what job security means for workers, with many asking their employers for more. Workers are valuing their personal well-being and life outside of work more than ever. They’re looking for greater remote work options, becoming increasingly interested in a company’s ethics and values ​​— and willing to go elsewhere if they don’t align with theirs.

  • Seven in 10 workers (71%) say they have considered a major career change this year.
  • Feelings about flexibility and work-life balance are not limited to parents (74%) who would like to arrange working hours more flexibly, closely followed by 68% of non-parents .
  • Pay equity matters: Three-quarters (76%) would consider looking for a new job if they found out their company has an unfair gender pay gap or lacks a diversity and inclusion policy.

Job satisfaction and outlook: Employees have high expectations. Optimism for the workplace outlook, although slightly below pre-pandemic levels, is robust, with workers optimistic about their thoughts on work.

  • Nine out of 10 workers (90%) are satisfied with their current job, although they could be happier: almost half of workers (41%) say they are only “somewhat satisfied”.
  • Hopes are high for pay rises, with more than six in 10 (61%) workers expecting a pay rise in the next 12 months, and more than four in 10 (43%) expecting a promotion; these feelings of better pay and progression fuel their optimism about the future.
  • When asked to describe their level of optimism, nearly nine in 10 (88%) placed themselves in the optimistic category, with similar responses across age groups and genders, North America being the only region where workers feel more optimistic today (85%) than before the pandemic (79%), with more flexible workplace changes likely a driver of improved sentiment.
  • Looking ahead, workers want a sustainable career: nearly a quarter of workers (23%) said they were actively trying to change jobs and/or move to a “future-proof” industry where skills are in greater demand over the long term, where they see the best prospects for career development and the strongest earning potential.

Salary and benefits: Salary is a priority, but it’s not all that matters. Pay remains a top priority for workers, although half of workers would trade a pay cut for work-life balance. This emphasis on pay and desired flexibility, many believe, could help mitigate the amount of unpaid overtime that workers believe they contribute without pay.

  • When asked what is most important in a job, (63%) of workers put salary first.
  • In fact, three-quarters (76%) say they are willing to ask for a pay rise if they feel it is deserved, likely pushed by a number of workers who believe they are giving the equivalent of more one working day (8.5 hours) of unpaid overtime each week.

Mental health: stress increases and work suffers. While workers are surprisingly optimistic about job satisfaction and prospects for the next five years, job stress has reached critical levels, exasperated by a trend that was already underway before the pandemic. The impact on workers, both professionally and personally, is profound and employers have noticed this as they strive to find ways to support their workforce.

  • Nearly seven in 10 workers (67%) report feeling stress at work at least once a week, up from 62% before the pandemic. In fact, one in seven people (15%) feel stressed every day.
  • Top sources of stress include the length of the workday (28%), problems with technology (26%) and concerns about job security (25%).
  • This stress impacts their performance at work, as 53% believe their work is suffering due to poor mental health.
  • Fortunately, as employers take the initiative to support their workforce, seven in 10 workers (70%) admit they feel supported by their managers when it comes to mental health at work, three quarters (75 %) saying they feel supported by their colleagues. .

Remote work and living conditions: people ready to move. Remote and hybrid working are now an established feature of the world of work, blurring the distinction between home and workplace. This shift from the traditional 9 to 5 office model is irreversible and has long-term implications for the labor market. As companies – and employees – reassess their approach to the workforce, it’s clear that having a flexible approach is key, as there are pros and cons both exclusively, whether entirely remotely or entirely in the office.

  • Two-thirds (64%) of the workforce would consider looking for a new job if they had to return to the office full-time. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, the youngest (18-24 years old) are the most reluctant (71%) to return to full-time work.
  • If so, employees are willing to compromise if it meant more flexibility or a hybrid approach to the workplace, with more than half (52%) willing to take a pay cut – up to 11 % – to guarantee this arrangement.
  • Two levels of feeling of work emerge. Those who work from home are more likely to say they are optimistic (89%) for the next five years compared to their peers (77%) relating to an office, are more satisfied with the job compared to those who work on place (90% vs. 82%), and nearly half (46%) think working from home has made it easier to be a working parent, although a quarter (25%) say it makes it easier. made it more difficult. Yet there is a balance, as those who work from home are more likely to feel their work suffers due to poor mental health compared to their colleagues in the workplace (55% vs. 36%). Those who work from home are also more likely to work longer hours, up to 8.7 hours overtime per week.

Two years after the pandemic, workers are thinking more than ever about what they really want from their jobs and lives and are reassessing and in some cases reversing ideas about what they are worth, what workplace safety means. job and what they expect from their job. employers. For additional findings and deeper context from the workers’ perspective in the ADP Research Institute report, “People at Work 2022: A holistic view of the workforce,” to visit ADPRI.org.

About the ADP Research Institute

The ADP Research Institute offers findings based on data on the world of work and derives reliable economic indicators. We offer these results as a unique contribution to the improvement and productivity of the world of work by providing actionable information to the economy as a whole.

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