Workforce Trends HR Cannot Ignore

In October, Spherion released highlights of their research and reporting on trends in the workforce. They have surveyed nearly 200,000 people on this topic since the survey started in 1997.

I found the Emerging Workforce Study (EWS) results absolutely fascinating — and I think HR really needs to pay attention. These stats give great insight on how to bridge the gap between employer and employee views.

Here are the stats this what jumped out at me:

  • By 2025, millenials will make up about 75% if the world’s workforce. They are also the most likely to leave as 40% admit they will look for another job in the first 12 months of work
  • 45% of all workers believe a company’s social media presence is influential when choosing a new employer — yet only 27% of companies believe social media influences how a candidate views the organization
  • 47% of workers agree that “when considering new employment, a company’s online reputation will be equally important as the offer I am given”
  • Only 46 percent of respondents say their company is effective at communicating their corporate mission. And only 51 percent of workers say their company follows-through on their mission well.

Coincidentally, last week, I participated on a panel discussing similar trends thru my local SHRM chapter. That’s really why I seized the opportunity to partner with Spherion on this topic and this post.

The generational diversity of our workforce is changing as more Baby Boomers head into retirement and more Millenials complete their education and enter the workforce. Combined with the phenomenon of social media and the impact of advances in technology, today’s workforce is looking for more than just a nice paycheck.

Today’s workforce is looking to be apart of something greater. They want to be apart of a message, a mission and a movement in their work.

Whether is it fast food or quick oil changes or packaging printer products, this workforce wants to know and see and hear that their work matters and makes a difference in their company, their community and in the world. They want immediate, constant and candid feedback — to be given and received. They demand to have voice and they demand that voice to matter.

When most HR execs are either actual Baby Boomers or were heavily influenced in their training/development by Boomers, it makes for interesting times in our workplaces. HR’s ability to embrace this generational shift and change with the times will be critical to successful recruiting and retention in our organizations. It will also be crucial to the survival and advancement of the HR function.

  • We must walk our talk. People want to work for organizations with clear vision and obvious integrity. Unclear or unspoken goals will lead to disengagement, loafing, gossip, negative talk, complaining and turnover. So will questionable practices. It’s time to tighten up and button up.
  • We must get social. If you’re not actively managing your organization’s online presence, you will be negatively impacted. People want to work for organizations who have appropriate online presence and encourage their employees to be ambassadors for the brand. If you are policing and restricting social sites and interactions, your organization will suffer in the long run.

I have to pat myself on the back a little and point out that I’ve pointed these trends out numerous times in past writings on my blog. So have dozens of my HR blogger friends! These trends keep coming like a freight train. It can’t be ignored.

What are you going to do to make sure you get on board (and not run over) by it? Stay tuned next week for more discussion on this — and you might just win stuff!!


Spherion partnered with bloggers like me for their 15th Anniversary Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. However, I was not told what to purchase or say in this post. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


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