People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View
The ADP Research Institute surveyed 32,000 people and found that many are willing to take bold steps to find the right work/life balance. Image: ADP Research Institute.

People are looking for jobs that don’t force them to compromise their health, well-being and family time, according to a workforce study that examined motivations behind the Great Resignation. “People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View” found that many people are considering all the options to find this kind of role, including part-time work, a move to a new industry, entrepreneurship and temporary retirement.

Seventy-one percent of workers have considered a major career change over the last year and 25% have thought about changing industries or requesting a sabbatical. Another 20% said they may start their own business, move to part-time work or retire early.

At the same time, 49% of respondents said they are very satisfied with their work and 41% indicated they are somewhat satisfied. People in the Asia Pacific region are mostly likely to feel optimistic about the next five years at work with 90% selecting this response. That is only 5% lower than pre-pandemic satisfaction levels. Europeans are the least optimistic with 78% feeling hopeful. People in North America and Latin America are in the middle at 85% optimism in both regions.

The survey covers more than 32,000 people from 17 countries and includes workers in the gig economy. The survey was conducted in November 2021. According to the research institute, the findings expose the seismic shift in employee expectations of the workplace as compared to pre-pandemic:

“The pandemic has put personal wellbeing and life outside work into even clearer perspective than ever before, and intensified the desire for more amenable working conditions, including greater flexibility, remote work options or better organizational culture.”

The five main findings of the research are:

  1. People are questioning the role of work in their lives as well as the ethics of their employers.
  2. Employees expect a raise this year and many plan to ask for one.
  3. Pay is still the top priority, but people would trade money for more flexibility in working hours.
  4. Stress levels are still high with 53% of people reporting that their work is suffering due to poor mental health.
  5. Remote workers are more likely to feel fairly compensated than people working in person.

ADP research institute study finds parents aren’t the only ones who want flexibility in work schedules. Seventy-four percent of parents and 68% of people without kids want flexibility in working hours. Workers aged 18-24 and 55+ are the most likely to want to set their own hours and locations. The study also found that only 17% of the youngest workers say career progression is important.

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Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP, said in a press release that the stakes have never been higher for employers that need to hire and retain workers.

“Our research highlights the extent to which employees’ views of work changed, now prioritizing a wider and deeper range of factors that are more personal in nature,” Richardson said. “With recruitment and retention among the most business-critical issues, these revelations offer both a challenge and an opportunity for employers as they seek to keep workers engaged and fulfilled.”

Richardson and Marie Antonello wrote the report for the research institute which delivers data-driven discoveries about the world of work and derives reliable economic indicators from these insights.

Changing jobs and industries too

ADP researchers noted that “the drive to change jobs or move into industries believed to be more resilient to economic shocks and downturns is accelerating.” Only 25% of respondents think their job or industry is secure, compared to 36% who had this assessment in 2021.

Recent research from BambooHR reinforced this finding. The survey of 2,012 U.S. adults found that 88% of employed Americans could see themselves working in a different industry than the one they are currently employed in, with the top choices being healthcare (14%), business/professional services (13%) and the arts and entertainment (12%). Nearly all (94%) Gen Z and (94%) millennials could see themselves working in a new industry along with 84% of Gen X and 72% of Boomers.

The BambooHR study also found that 41% of Americans believe they could be unemployed for more than six months while remaining financially stable.

Anita Grantham, head of HR at BambooHR, said in a press release that the survey shows people have taken a step back to think about what matters to them and their priorities.

“Our study found that there is a deep shift happening where workers are closely examining what they want in an employer and making 180-degree career pivots when necessary to find the pay and workplace environments that they truly desire,” Grantham said.

The BambooHR study suggests that people are looking for new jobs because of dissatisfaction with current employers. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they’ve felt the least valued over the last year than they’ve ever felt in their entire career.

Payment problems are also an issue

Although workers said that diversity and pay equity is important, 33% said employees drive these efforts and 15% said no one is in charge of this work. This answer is more common in North America and Europe than in Latin America or Asia Pacific.

The ADP survey found that payment errors are becoming more of a problem for workers. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they are always or often underpaid, 21% said they are always or often incorrectly paid and 23% said they are always or often paid late.

In addition to the general stress of work, these payment problems are undoubtedly contributing to mental health problems at work. Sixty-seven percent of workers said they feel stress at work at least once a week. This is up from 62% pre-pandemic. Increased responsibilities is the top reason for this anxiety which also contributed to job dissatisfaction. Other key sources of stress include the length of the working day, problems with technology and concerns about job security.

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