9 minutes

Future of Work Statistics: Trends for Future Workplaces

Global HR


Lorelei Trisca


July 11, 2024

Last Update

July 11, 2024

Table of Contents

What will the workforce of the future look like?

What will the office of the future look like?

What will the future workweek look like?

What is the skillset of the future workplace?

What strategies are companies employing to deal with the future of work?

How is technology shaping the future of work?

How are workplaces dealing with mental health?

How are sustainable practices affecting business?

How are policy changes shaping the future of work?

Deel enables future workplaces and their people

Key takeaways
  1. The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, with various employment types: full-time employees, contractors, and freelancers.
  2. The 4-day workweek trend is picking up and helping companies attract and retain talent.
  3. AI is accelerating the evolution of skills and increasing the demand for workers' training.
  4. Governments worldwide are refining policies for better work-life balance.

The future of work promises to bring exciting (and potentially unpredictable) changes. These changes include diversity, reskilling, policy changes, automation, and AI impacting jobs globally. While there are some trends to be cautious of, most changes can be optimistic.

We've compiled some must-know future of work statistics to help organizations navigate these exciting (and potentially uncertain) times.

What will the workforce of the future look like?

Encouraging diversity, fairness, and inclusivity at work is a growing trend for companies in the Western world.

The workforce will continue to get more diverse in almost every aspect

In the US, the population is more racially and ethnically diverse in the 2020s compared to ten years ago.

While ongoing debate exists about whether greater diversity improves financial performance, 93% of companies have leadership support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts.

Diversity continues to be a priority for most companies

Age differences are significantly impacting the workplace. Most affected countries are in the OECD. In 2020, the average share of the population aged 50 and older was 37%. This share will grow to 45% by 2050.

An aging global population contributes to multigenerational workplaces with a greater mix of workers of all ages. This new status quo contrasts the pyramid model of previous years, which had many younger and relatively few older workers.

Employment types are changing, too

In the United States, talent shortages have prompted companies to relax their requirements. The statistics differ between companies. However, many companies are dropping are dropping the requirement for a Bachelor's degree. Instead, they focus on skills-based hiring.

The pandemic shift to remote work has encouraged and enabled a more flexible workforce, and this trend will continue in the upcoming years.

The World Bank reports that 48% of the global workforce is freelancers. Moreover, the US freelance workforce is growing considerably. 64 million Americans are freelancing, making up 38% of the US workforce. Freelancers alone contributed $1.27 trillion to the US economy in 2023.

Gen Z and Millennials are the most willing to explore freelancing. In 2023, 52% of all Gen Z professionals and 44% of all Millennial professionals performed freelance work.

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What will the office of the future look like?

So where are employees working now, and where will they work in the future?

Companies are mandating workers back in the office

Due to COVID, there was a prediction about the death of cities due to remote work. This prediction did not become a reality—offices are opening again quickly.

One survey covering the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK found that:

  • 35% of knowledge workers are working full-time from their office
  • 49% are working in a hybrid arrangement
  • 17% are working remotely full-time

LinkedIn saw a downfall in fully remote jobs from its peak at 20% of job listings in April 2022 to 8% in December 2023. Another survey found that 57% of companies say more than half their workforce works remotely at least two days per week.

There are mixed reactions to this emerging trend. Workers with total schedule flexibility reported 39% higher productivity and 64% greater ability to focus. Moreover, many workers feel that in-office time (including a lengthy commute) is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Notably, the most common disadvantages of hybrid work are:

  • Difficulty in building professional relationships
  • Feeling disconnected from company culture
  • Difficulty accessing information or files

Those that feel disconnected are more likely to operate in silos and won't engage in as many entrepreneurial opportunities. Thankfully, there are solutions, both operational and technical. Companies can benefit from hybrid work by giving clear feedback and goals, providing growth opportunities, and recognizing their workers.

Office spaces are also adapting to the rising changes. As more people work freelance or remotely, the way we think about office spaces is changing. Office design trends will likely encompass sustainability, connected devices, and provisions for neurodiverse workers, such as quiet zones and sensory variety.

Office perks are less important than they were pre-pandemic

One survey found that only 16% of UK office workers consider extra amenities, such as on-site gyms, showers, free food, etc., desirable.

The pandemic temporarily decreased the use of coworking spaces. However, coworking spaces are growing in popularity because more people are working independently or as freelancers.

Experts predict that the coworking space market will reach $40.4 billion by 2028, growing at a rate of 15.8% annually from $16 billion in 2022.

Coworking spaces will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of work. They provide individuals with physical spaces and foster networks, communities, and opportunities for creative exchange.

Remote workers, typically self-employed, can rent a desk or workspace for a day or month. They can decide how long they want to use the space. This flexibility allows them to work in a professional environment without committing to a long-term lease.

What will the future workweek look like?

Working fewer hours was a significant work trend in the early 2020s. Interesting experiments worldwide support the quest for a healthier work-life balance. As a result, the future working week may look shorter than the traditional 5- or 6-day 8-hour-per-day minimum model.

78% of employees with a 4-day workweek report being happier and less stressed. By late 2022, at least 24 countries had tested a 4-day week. These were government-sponsored trials. Canada, Japan, Lithuania, and the United Arab Emirates are some states that tried 4-day weeks.

However, the actual number may be much higher, as individual companies have done their trials worldwide.

Some countries took more extensive measures. For example, Belgium introduced labor regulations giving employees the right to work the total weekly hours in four days instead of five at full pay. 89% of companies in a UK trial program for a four-day week made the policy permanent. That trial was a full pay model—100% pay for 80% of hours worked.

A shorter work week appeals to new employees. 63% of businesses declare attracting and keeping talent easier with a four-day week.

With labor shortages ongoing, employees continue to have high demands. While the 4-day week experiments continue, flexible working remains a prerequisite for many employees. If employers stop allowing employees to work from home, 66% of workers would search for a new job that offers flexibility. Additionally, 39% of workers would choose to quit their current job.

What is the skillset of the future workplace?

The world of work is changing so quickly that it can be challenging to keep up. New job roles are appearing as quickly as old ones are disappearing. In the next few years, we might see the last supermarket checkout assistants. We'll also meet data inspectors, gene editors, and drone pilots.

Companies and workers willing to upgrade their skills will thrive in the future. According to the World Economic Forum, 44% of workers' skills will be disrupted in the next five years, and six in ten workers will need training before 2027.

Governments around the world are implementing programs funding reskilling and upskilling programs.

Skills boot camps and training courses help workers prepare for the future. The two often go hand in hand: reskilling refers to developing new skills, while upskilling involves improving existing skills.

Upskilling is an excellent way to tackle skills gaps, significantly when the demand for skills outweighs the number of qualified workers.

70% of leaders say there's a skills gap, and 40% say that the skills gap at their company has worsened in the last year.

76% of professionals say they need AI skills to remain competitive in the job market. LinkedIn Learning courses for AI skills saw a 160% increase in non-technical professionals. These professionals include project managers, architects, and administrative assistants.

Data analysis, Database management, Cybersecurity, and Technical support were the top new tech skills required in 2023.

Finance, secondary teaching, coding, and social work are among the sectors with the most demand for skilled workers in the UK during 2023.

Soft skills are in demand just as much as technical skills—if not more. LinkedIn research found that the top five most in-demand soft skills are communication, leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, research, and adaptability. The global soft skills training market was worth $29.8 billion in 2023. It is expected to reach $83.5 billion by 2032.

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What strategies are companies employing to deal with the future of work?

How are companies planning to deal with the future of work and skills? The most common strategies involve investing in on-the-job training and automating processes.

When surveyed on what workforce strategies companies are planning till 2027, the results were:

  • 81.2 % of organizations plan to invest in learning and training on the job
  • 80% plan to accelerate the automation of processes
  • 45.5% intend to transition existing staff from declining to growing roles
  • 25.5% plan to outsource significant areas of work
  • 24.3% intend to expand the use of contract work.

Organizations are also revising talent strategies to attract more talent, the key practices being:

  • 48.1% of organizations plan to improve talent progression and promotion processes
  • 35.3% will offer high wages
  • 33.7% want to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities
  • 20.5 % will offer remote and hybrid work opportunities.

How is technology shaping the future of work?

One key theme prominent when discussing how technology is shaping the future of work is AI.

AI and automation are causing considerable changes in job markets worldwide. For some, this represents opportunity, while others see it as a threat.

For example, within the next five years, 41% of business leaders expect to redesign business processes from the ground up with AI. According to Deel data commissioned with YouGov in June 2024, 38% of HR decision-makers currently employ AI in their practices and workflows.

In the same survey:

  • 46% of HR leaders said AI boosted their analytics
  • 35% said AI elevated employee learning and development
  • 32% used AI for performance management
  • 28% used AI for employee onboarding

Other business functions also incorporate AI into their workflows. Strategy and corporate finance divisions have 21% adoption of AI, and service operations have 19%. For product and service development, AI adoption currently stands at 10%.

The emergence of ChatGPT has caused some food for thought, as it already boasts 100 million weekly users. There is no definitive data on the number of jobs lost to AI automation.

Regarding the benefits of using AI technologies, marketers report:

  • A 6.2% increase in sales
  • A 7% increase in customer satisfaction
  • A 7.2% reduction in marketing overhead costs

How are workplaces dealing with mental health?

Employee well-being is rising on priority lists for many HR teams worldwide. The 2023 Work in America Survey shows that psychological well-being is a high priority for workers:

  • 92% of workers said it's important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being
  • However, only 36% of the workers were "very satisfied" with the mental health and well-being support they received from their employers
  • 77% of workers reported experiencing work-related stress in the last month

The areas that need the most improvements are:

  • Health insurance: Only 43% of employees said their employer offers health insurance with coverage for mental health
  • Break culture: Only about one-third (35%) reported their employer encourages taking breaks
  • Mental health days: A meager 15% said their company offered mental health days
  • Employee assistance program: 29% said their company has an employee assistance program
  • Mental health support: Only 12% said they have people on site who received mental health training

33% of workers intend to look for a new job next year. When this study included workers unsatisfied with the mental health and well-being support at work, the number rose to 57%. With increasing awareness of mental health, retaining talent without adequate well-being programs will only become more challenging.

How are sustainable practices affecting business?

80% of workers say it is important for businesses to prioritize sustainability, and 58% wish to work for a company committed to sustainability.

When asked about which sustainability practices workers look for in an employer, 71% said a commitment to sustainability and environmental practices. 61% said ethical business practices, 66% said social responsibility and community involvement, and 64% said diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

Sustainability practices even affect purchasing decisions within the company. 67% of workers say their employers consider a company's sustainability practices when making decisions about vendors, partners, and suppliers.

A commitment to sustainability is important to win more contracts and talent.

How are policy changes shaping the future of work?

Governments around the world are increasingly creating policies for fair labor practices.

For example, the US Federal Trade Commission proposed a rule to ban non-compete clauses. A non-compete agreement prevents an employee from working with competing companies. FTC regards this clause as an unfair method of competition. Employers cannot stop employees from working for another employer unless there is a valid reason for the restriction.

Another key change is the rising importance of pay transparency. Colorado, New York State, California, Washington, and a handful of municipalities like New York City have passed laws requiring employers to list salary ranges. This rule applies to recruiting external candidates and internal promotion opportunities.

New rules agreed by the European Union Parliament also force companies to disclose pay information. Job descriptions now must have a salary range in these regions.

Minimum wages for 20 US states will also increase in 2024, which means companies must revise salary ranges for these areas.

Another policy change worth monitoring is mandatory time tracking across Europe. The law requires employers to track and document their workers' working hours. This legislation aims to prevent overwork and promote a healthy work-life balance. Companies now need a system to track working hours for all hires in Europe.

Failing to stay updated with all of these changes increases the risk of becoming non-compliant.

Our latest compliance guide provides a cue on global compliance challenges companies face.

Deel enables future workplaces and their people

Deel remains a trusted partner, helping companies across different locations and industries navigate the complexities of changing workplaces. Deel supports:

  • Hiring: Compliantly hire workers with the proper documentation in place
  • Payroll: Run global payroll at ease while in-house payroll experts handle all compliance, tax deductions, and filings
  • Training: Define career paths for employees and contractors with the latest skills and assign training
  • Performance management: Enable your people to reach their full potential with periodic reviews
  • HRIS: Manage your workforce compliantly in 150+ countries

Stay up to date (and compliant) with all the demands of the future of work with Deel. Request a quick demo to discover all the benefits of our platform.

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