At the Global Thought Leaders Conference in the US last year, there were some useful analytical insights about the future of workforce planning. Here’s what you need to know.
1. 20% of the world’s population is now living outside their country of birth.
This is the highest level in human history. This means that managing a cross-cultural workforce is a challenge that’s not going anywhere soon. The number is set to further increase, so it’s incumbent on HR to understand the top two or three most pressing issues for international colleagues in the workplace.
2. 25% of workers are now mobile, and expect to be at work.
Managing them as if they are going to be in the office all the time is flawed, and HR needs to foster the discussion about what this means for workforce management and how support processes need to evolve. At least 20 per cent of workers in the UK and US believe that working remotely is now a right and not a privilege, but it’s 30 per cent in Australia and 70-80 per cent in China and India, where our major competition will be coming from. Nearly all companies have some kind of remote work happening every week, according to a 2015 Randstad global study.
3. 70% of graduates across five continents want to work offshore at some point.
This is according to a Randstad survey. That means education of staff needs to be promoted by HR. Investing in staff through an overseas assignment makes sense when they and the organisation can validate that this is warranted.
4. 60% of the current workforce is due to retire in the next 20 years.
That’s a lopsided loss of talent to contemplate, and requires HR to think about how to keep this experienced talent re-engaged at work for longer on a part-time or contracted basis.
5. 60% of companies and employees rank globalisation as one of the top three critical factors in the future of their organisations.
Over 90 per cent see the supply pool for talent being global. Consider this – 55 per cent of the world workforce will be Gen Y and Gen Z by 2025, with a significant majority of them residing in China and India, and with many wanting to exit those locations.
6. 38% of Gen Z says they want to start their own business.
On average at least 30 per cent of them want their employers to give back to their community by creating new local jobs, donating resources to community projects, and be actively involved in charity, according to a 2015 Fortune magazine-Hay group study. Further, nearly half ranked China, India and Russia exercising more economic influence on the world they will inhabit than the US and Europe combined.
7. Half of Gen Z is connected for 10 hours or more per day.
Gen Z have completed the digital native movement, so interaction with them is going to rely more and more on digital media.
8. 70% of Gen Z individuals saw employers needing to accommodate an increasingly mobile and remote workforce.
Gen Z expects workplace collaboration to be organised across office-based, single-work stations and co-working spaces, as well as at home, according to studies by Randstad, IDG and Johnson Controls. HR needs to understand these expectations, and work with the IT department as to what this means for workplace management.
9. 16% of Gen Z values honesty and transparency above all else.
Gen Z are truth hunters. The following are the most desired traits in employers in descending order: honesty, transparency, reliability and financial security. About one sixth of Gen Z will back their employers if they have the first two attributes, but might be struggling on the third, so HR needs to understand how their employer stacks up on these attributes.
10. 66% of 16-24 year olds are routinely considering leaving their jobs.
Gen Z remain ‘turnover prone’. HR needs to understand what it is about the business that attracts and retains staff, so the costs of this churning can be minimised. Western countries, particularly the US, are losing their attractiveness as places of work for globally-skilled people. This is at a time when Western firms are seeing China and India as the major source of talent they want to attract. So understanding the effect of that tension is a key role for HR in the future, especially if the targeted level of talent is to be secured from offshore.
The key challenges for HR, as revealed by these workforce planning insights, are to evolve talent management and supply, as well as to research new and innovative ways for workers to collaborate as they get the work done across global boundaries.
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This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the March 2016 issue of HRMonthly magazine as “What’s Trending”. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.