The holidays are finally over and it’s time to finally settle in to what are usually the most productive months of the year. As we hang up the new 2015 calendar, it’s time to examine some of the workplace trends we can expect during the coming year.
While there are likely to be many obstacles in the workplace this year, there also are going to be many opportunities, especially with the economy showing signs that recovery is finally taking traction.
The highest level trends this year revolve around persistent skills gap, the increasing number of workers choosing to drop out of the corporate culture, and the companies looking for savings opportunities through such things as automation and outsourcing.
Check out these top workplace trends to watch for during 2015:
- ‘Hello, Generation Z!’ – Just as many companies have finally figured out what motivates Generation Y (also known as the Millennials), an entirely new generation of young workers will begin to appear this year in the workplace, mostly in low-paying entry-level jobs and internships. The members of Generation Z were born between 1994 and 2010 and will be targeted by many corporate recruiters for internships this year. To put that in perspective, the oldest Generation Z members will just be entering their last year of college this year. Many companies want very young workers because they are trying to close the skills gap and so that so they can build brand awareness as early high school.
- Millennials in Charge – Now that there is a younger generation of workers entering the workplace, members of the millennial generation are finally assuming leadership roles, and that number is expected to grow substantially during 2015. This already has ruffled the feathers of some older workers, who resent being passed over for manager positions by less experienced workers. For their part, Millennials aren’t winning any popularity awards, either, with charges of favoritism towards other Millennials and their thinking they know more than older workers.
- Transparency – Companies are starting to embrace transparency now that younger customers, employees and even managers are demanding it. It’s no longer good enough for leaders to inspire. They also have to instill trust through honesty. It’s only natural for people to follow leaders who are open about the direction their companies are taking, what its objectives are, and who give honest feedback regularly. Social media also is contributing to this drive for more openness, as the ability for workers to communicate with each other in real time improves.
- Expansion of the Skills Gap Chasm – Human resources in nearly every corporation today is scrambling to find qualified candidates to fill existing positions. And this skills gap is expected to widen even further as economic recovery motivates companies to expand and bring on more people. The real problem is that college curriculums still don’t align with the current job marketplace. Most schools still offer liberal arts degrees even though only about 2% of companies are recruiting prospective workers with that degree.
- Retention Deficit Disorder – Job hopping continues to be popular as a growing number of workers keep searching for their “perfect” job and never settling down with one company. Technology that allows people to easily find new jobs and for recruiters to snatch qualified candidates has propelled this trend. To overcome the trend and build their retention numbers, companies have to work harder to create superior work cultures where employees feel valued and can work at ease with their co-workers. Until that happens, companies can continue to anticipate a lot of job-hopping workers.
- Mobile Recruiting and Hiring – People use their smart phones and tablets to text, shop and check their social media. But they also are increasingly using mobile technology to find new opportunities and even new jobs. Tech savvy companies have responded by launching mobile-friendly apps that simplify the process of applying for jobs via mobile devices. The mobile revolution, which is cutting people’s ties with traditional work stations and offices, is finally reaching the recruiting and hiring process. To attract the best candidates, companies need to be able to promote opportunities wherever and whenever.
- Social Influence – Continuing the trend first seen in 2014, companies are going to expand their social media profile by appearing more frequently in the news feeds of people’s social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just a few years ago, ads were literally marginalized on social media sites. But many companies have aggressively pushed their social presence so that today it seems as if every other post or status update is corporate sponsored. This is a net plus for many companies because younger workers – who are used to checking their social media multiple times daily — are saying they prefer to work at companies with a high social profile.
- Prioritization of Succession Planning – As boomers begin to plan for retirement, succession planning has moved to the front of the line among many companies’ priorities list. To ease the transition, some companies are asking older managers to stay on the payroll – at least for a few years longer – so that they can pass the leadership baton on to the next generation. There have even been some recent high profile retirements at some of the nation’s biggest companies, such as Deloitte and Ford, both of whose CEOs called it quits in 2014.
- More Women Assuming Positions of Power – The chatter about the expanding leadership role of women in the workplace isn’t going to die down in 2015, it’s only going to get louder. As an increasing number of Millennials take positions in the workplace, expect the wage gap between men and women to finally begin to close. Currently, about one-third of the most financially successful companies have a woman at the helm. This statistic will likely increase due to such trends as couples choosing not to have children, delayed adulthood, and more women enrolling at colleges and universities.
- Non-Traditional Career Paths – With every passing year, the number of freelancers, work-at-home employees, and part-time remote workers gets larger. Many companies prefer temp workers and consultants because it’s less costly and gives them more flexibility. And workers like it because it gives them more free time and options.